During the summer, many families will see their grocery bills increase a bit. With kids home all day every day, that means providing meals that they normally would’ve eaten at school. Plus snacks. And BOY, can kids snack!
But while we’re balancing our own food budgets, it’s easy to forget about the kids who face a much bigger problem: Getting meals at all. There are many, many kids who rely upon school breakfast and lunch to get quality meals. So what do they do during the summer?
According to a new report by the Food Research and Action Center, the number of children participating in the USDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs increased last year, but the need for access while school is out of session remains high. Last year, only one in seven children who needed summer meals actually received them. That means the other six likely suffered without regular meals â€”Â much less healthy meals.
That’s a scary situation to face, whether you’re the child who spends his days hungry or the parent struggling to provide. Thankfully, there is help to be found.
The Walmart Foundation has kicked off a summer initiative to help children and their families get nutritious meals and learn healthy eating habits. The program includes $15 million in grants, which will will provide meals and nutrition education to 1.4 million children and families in more than 1,500 communities. The six nonprofits that will receive grant funding are:
- Children’s Health Fund
- Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
- National 4-H Council
- National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
- YMCA of the USA (The Y)
These organizations do everything from providing mobile medical programs that offer nutrition education to directly providing healthy meals and snacks to low-income children nationwide.
But even if you’re not struggling to provide meals for your family, there’s still something you can do. As parents, we are our kids’ first role models, and they will often grow up to emulate what they’ve learned at home. This is especially true when it comes to eating habits. If they learn the importance of healthy meals and celebrating them as a family, that’s a lesson they will carry with them throughout their lives.
In this spirit, Walmart has issues a five-week Eat Healthy Together Challenge. The idea is to encourage families to eat healthy meals together at least three times a week. To reward you for doing so, each week, a random participant will win aÂ $25 Walmart gift card. So how can you join in? Simple.
- Follow @WalmartHealthy on Twitter
- Post photos or updates on Twitter of your family eating healthy meals together, and include these hashtags: #EatHealthyTogether #Contest.
- Check out @WalmartHealthy each Monday for the announcement of the winning Challenge
The photo at the top of this post is my contribution. My hubbyÂ made a healthy breakfast for the whole family, and it was delicious!
The winner will be chosen from all those who use the hashtag, and the challenge continues through Monday, August 4. Entries need to be received by 10:00 a.m. ET on Mondays to be considered for the contest each week. Be sure to read the contest rules. You can also learn more about meal planning and creating healthy meals as a family at the challenge website.
Disclosure: As a participant in theÂ Walmart MomsÂ Program, Iâ€™ve received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.