Can it really be June already? We have so many things keeping us busy at the Second Harvest – wrapping up Harvest for Hunger, Farmer’s Markets and Volunteer Appreciation -- but top of mind when school is out for summer break is child hunger. For us, it is a year-round challenge and especially now. When everyone else is trying to dial down and relax during the summer months, we know we need to double our effort.
Summer childhood hunger can prove costly in too many ways to ignore. The immediate impact for children from low income families can include cognitive decline, summer weight gain and learning loss. Long term problems can include susceptibility to chronic disease and compounded learning problems affecting graduation rates. The Summer Food Service Program is a large part of how we partner to help children get healthy, nutritious snacks and meals throughout the summer months.
The 2016 Harvest for Hunger campaign is winding down in June but we’re on track to have our best year ever! We expect to collect over $215,000 and over 13,000 pounds of food and want to thank Tony Gallo, this years’ Honorary Chairperson of the campaign. His enthusiasm and spirit brought attention to the issue and helped to raise food, funds and awareness.
Congratulations to all of our volunteers honored at our 2016 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Their dedication and efforts help us to move food and grocery products to those who struggle with hunger efficiently and safely. Our volunteer ranks continue to grow and we invite you to join us. A few volunteer options to consider with school out for the summer are Family Night, Saturday Volunteer Opportunities and Farmer’s Markets. Learn more on our website or call us to schedule a time for you.
Finally, June marks the one-year anniversary of our operations in the Nordson Food Distribution Center. After a year of operations we are just starting to see the real potential of Second Harvest to make an even bigger impact – distribution of food and grocery products is up 8.5% since moving and volunteers hours are up 25%. We are amazed and thankful for the possibilities that have opened up to us by having a large, efficient facility sized to help us fulfill our mission –More Food. Less hunger.
Julie Chase-Morefield is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio.