As schools let out for summer, many area families are facing a unique dilemma, how will they feed their children when they are not receiving the free breakfast, lunch and snacks they normally get at school? This summer, the strain is likely to be more pressing, given the recent cuts in pandemic-level SNAP benefits. In areas of DuPage and Will Counties served by West Suburban Community Pantry, an anticipated 9,675 children will need nutritional support through the summer months.
“We associate summer with burgers, watermelon, and corn on the cob. Sadly, for many children and families in our area, the end of school means hungry months ahead,” says Suzanne Armato, CEO of the Pantry in Woodridge, Illinois. “We are committed to coming alongside these families with the food and encouragement they need to thrive. But given the additional need and the rising cost of food, the challenge is greater.”
Because the Pantry is able to purchase food from Northern Illinois Food Bank and receives donations of food and supplies from its food partners, every dollar raised can provide a nutritious meal for two hungry children. “We know that children who receive adequate nutrition do better physically and socially, and they learn better,” Armato says. “Feeding kids and families during these critical summer months will benefit them now and also set them up for success when they return to school in the fall. But we cannot do it without financial donations from our neighbors.”
The Pantry has launched a summer food drive, seeking donations of any amount from members of the community. Individuals and organizations can donate at www.wscpantry/summer-hunger/ .
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