For most parents, summer is a trying time. We have to continue working and doing all the grown up things, but all of a sudden, we also have to figure out how to keep our kids occupied for the entire day instead of just half of it. This has been a bit frustrating for me, because my daughter likes to do, and go, and play and be, so it’s tough to keep her active and busy while I work from home. But for some families, summer presents an entirely different kind of challenge.
For children across the country, during the school year, the meals they eat at school may be the only meals they eat for the day. Their families are struggling to put food on the table, so school is a brief respite from that. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 19.5 million low-income children receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. So what do these families and children do during the summer? It hurts my heart to think about it.
Thankfully, there are some programs in place to help, including YMCA, some school lunch summer programs and the National Recreation and Park Association. The Walmart Foundation recently announced that they are providing $20 million in grants to six nonprofit organizations nationwide that will help these children and families. The grants will focus on three critical needs:
- Providing healthy meals, serving more than 10 million meals to more than 160,000 school-age children in lower-income and inner-city areas
- Funding learning programs that will provide nearly 16,000 children with lessons to keep their mind stimulated and ready for school in the fall
- Providing summer jobs and skills training to nearly 3,000 inner-city youth
The funds will go to organizations all over the country, including some in the Atlanta metro area.
Growing up, while my family didn’t have much and we had our fair share of financial struggles, I can’t remember ever not knowing where my next meal was coming from. Only now that I have my own children do I realize how fortunate we were — and how fortunate we ARE, even today.
These summer grants are just a small part of a $2 billion commitment by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to fight hunger in the U.S. through 2015. For additional information on the summer programs that Walmart is supporting and learn more about how Walmart is fighting hunger visit http://www.walmart.com/fightinghunger.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Walmart Moms program. I was provided with compensation for sharing their summer giving campaign with you. Participation is voluntary and, as usual, all opinions are my own.