By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philabundance is helping to fight summer hunger among kids through a pilot program that provides families with healthy foods at a critical time of the month.
On the third Thursday of every month, you’ll find scores of people with grocery bags in hand, standing in line at Lowell Elementary School in Olney.
“It’s a lot of healthy stuff, bananas, lettuce, cereal,” says Amalia, who picked up three bags of food for herself and two children. “It’s lot of help to make sure kids are eating healthy food.”
Amalia, like many other families, has a tough time gaining access to health food at the end of the month. Times are made even more difficult in the summer when free school lunches are unavailable. Philabundance’s KidsBites helped to fill the void this summer by providing 80,000 meals for families. The extra support for food distribution in the summer came thanks to a $40,000 donation from Citizens Bank Foundation.
“Unfortunately, in our great city we are seeing high and higher need with kids not getting enough food,” says Susan Fink, vice president of development at Philabundance, who notes that only one in seven families who utilize free school lunches received summer meals. “This is a critical resource for families.”
Toni says her children attend Lowell and KidsBites comes right at the time of the month when her budget is most limited.
“At the end of the month you’ve done your early food shopping, paid the bills and mortgage and you just need a little help,” she says, walking with two bags of fresh fruits and vegetables. “I think today is wonderful. It helps a lot.”
Philabundance reports that KidsBites has distributed 55,000 pounds of food since it started last September.