WASHINGTON – Research shows there are nearly 200,000 kids and teens at risk of going hungry in the Washington, DC metro area.
For a lot of people, summer vacation means school is out, airports are packed, and pools are open.
But it also means, hundreds of thousands of kids in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area are at risk of going hungry.
To combat the hunger epidemic during the summer months, Martha’s Table is setting up free farmer’s markets in some of the worst food deserts in the District and Prince George’s County.
The program allows families to stock up on fresh food for their children, for free.
“It takes away the whole struggle of trying to figure out what my kids are going to eat for dinner or lunch, so this definitely helps,” said Precious Johnson as she waited inline to fill her bags with fruits and vegetables.
“If your basic needs aren’t getting met, well you can’t focus on higher pursuits and I’m just grateful that some one had that idea to bring this free farmers market here to our community,” expressed Southeast resident, Kisha Coley.
USDA research shows, nationwide, each year more than 31 million students rely on free or reduced breakfast and lunches at during the school year.
Jennifer Konish, the after school and summer meals coordinator with the Capital Area Food Bank, explained, “During the summer there is often a gap where they might not get a meal or if they get a meal it might not be consistent.”
For a second summer, The Capital Area Food Bank is teaming up with Shoppers to fight kids’ hunger. They drive busloads of hot -meals to children in mobile home sites in Prince William and Fairfax counties.
Children love it and parents are grateful.
“It has been helpful because we’re having a hard time right now, this year,” said Sarah McGrath as she walked her daughter to the bus to get a meal.
“A lot of these kids, when we come with lunch, this might be their only consistent meal of the day,” said Konish.
But for these children, it is about more than just the food.
“We also do activities with them, so they know they can come 20 or 30 minutes early and we can play a game of kickball with them. They really look forward to this, a lot of kids have chance to go to summer camps and these kids might not have that option, so we bring it to them,” said Konish.
For more information on the Capital Area Food Bank's summer feeding programs click here: https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/programs/kids/
For more information on Martha's Table free farmers markets click here: http://marthastable.org/fighting-hunger-this-summer/