Do you remember being in grade school and dreading long summer days full of nothing to do but beg your mother to take you to your friend-™s house to play? Unfortunately, my mother worked full days during the week and I was left with a stocked kitchen and my imagination. As an intern at MUST Ministries, being a part of the Summer Lunch program takes me back.
The only difference between me and the children that are recipients of the Summer Lunch program is that I had three meals a day and they do not. My grief and complaint back then, at the age of 10, is nothing compared to the children who patiently wait to be given a sack lunch from the Summer Lunch volunteers.
It-™s an eye opener for me. I-™ve always been somewhat aware that America is facing a hunger issue. In the United States today, nearly 16 million children face hunger. If it weren-™t for me interning at MUST, I probably still to this day couldn-™t comprehend it; I still can-™t, in fact.
In the year 2014, 254,906 summer lunches were distributed to children in eight counties. This summer, MUST will serve their 2 millionth lunch since the program began 20 years ago! The growth rate of children who receive free and reduced lunch has sky rocketed since 2009. Students are on summer break for 10 weeks. How are these children being fed over the summer?
The Summer Lunch program was created to -śfeed-ť each child-™s body, mind and soul by providing a sack lunch five days a week and a free book to each child on Fridays. There are many stories of children eating a portion of their lunches and either saving it for later or for their parents. These meals impact each child and remind them that there is still hope.
MUST serves in eight surrounding counties collaborating with many churches, corporate groups, YMCA and hundreds of volunteers. I can-™t think of a better way to meet the need of child hunger.
Want to help? Read more about Summer Lunch on the MUST web site or email [email protected]. Pledged lunches are desperately needed.