All Faiths Food Bank Officially Launches Its Campaign Against Summer Hunger

This morning at 8am at Michael’s on East, hundreds of people turned up to help kick off the All Faiths Food Bank Campaign Against Summer Hunger. This is the inaugural year of the campaign which All Faiths hopes will go on for years to come, and the organization has been doing everything possible to make it a success. Here are some facts. In Sarasota County alone, over 21,000 kids qualify for free or reduced lunch at school. For most of these kids, this school-provided lunch is the only guaranteed nutritional meal they will eat all day. During the school year, All Faiths can help alleviate hunger for these kids and younger brothers and sisters not yet in the school system by sending home bags of food through their Back Pack Kids Program. Image Source: Skipalunch.org But when the school year ends, the problem of hunger does not. For many children right here in our community, summer means bare cupboards and profound food insecurity. All Faiths is still there providing food of course, but even a food bank can feel the strain of lean months. By the time summer is over, they are often scrambling to gather enough food and donations to keep their programs going as school starts again. So this year they are being proactive with an awareness and fundraising campaign that starts today and goes on through May 10th. All Faiths and their community partners are hosting food and financial drives for the next forty days in an attempt to get the food bank prepared for the dog days of summer. They’ve partnered with Sarasota County schools to open 45 new meal sites, are providing their first ever backpack program, and will be deploying six new mobile school pantry sites. In addition, their mobile farm market, Sprout, will be adding new stops to its regular route throughout the summer. Employees and volunteers have been hard at work strengthening the infrastructure to support what they hope will be a very successful campaign. But ultimately, it won’t come together without the support of the community.     There are very easy ways you can help support the cause. First, clear out your pantry and bring canned goods and other nonperishable items to any one of the dozens of drop-off locations in the area. Second, spread the word. Share the Skip A Lunch website on your Facebook page and email it to your friends so they know how easy and necessary it is to support All Faiths in their efforts. And finally, perhaps the most important thing you can do is donate money. Several generous friends of the Food Bank have together donated $500,000 and they ask that local residents match that amount over the next forty days. With this money All Faiths can negotiate great prices on nonperishable goods, and can also procure fresh produce and perishable items like milk to help support local families during the summer months. Hunger doesn’t just disappear when schools are closed: if anything, it gets worse. The Campaign Against Summer Hunger is our best chance as a community to help a lot of families in the coming months. Watch our Facebook page for more updates throughout the course of this incredible campaign.