As school children across the United States prepare for their much anticipated summer vacations, millions of youth and their families face months of uncertainty about the availability of their next meal. Very often, when schools close for the summer season, the meals that many low-income children rely on every day throughout the school year are no longer available, leaving those children with insufficient food on a daily basis and their families facing the reality of months of added pressure on already-strained household budgets.
Recognizing this vital need in communities across the country, many local Catholic Charities agencies fill this void with vital programs throughout the summer months to ensure children in their communities have access to healthy, nutritious and reliable meals that they would otherwise go without during this time. Our local agencies have demonstrated a commitment to providing and increasing these services, with 267 summer meal programs added in the last four years alone, totaling over 350 locally implemented programs offering summer meal services for children.
While the work of our Catholic Charities network is deeply impactful, meeting this vast need cannot be done alone. Efforts like No Kid Hungry and their national campaign to end summer hunger for children are essential to raising awareness of summer meal sites across the nation. We pray that this summer we are able to increase national awareness of the urgency of this need and that those families facing the challenge of feeding their children during these months are able to find locally available meal assistance through maps and tools like those provided by No Kid Hungry, and directly from Catholic Charities agencies in their community.