For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Summer Feeding Program Helps Fill Void
As more and more people struggle to feed their families, hunger among children continues to rise. And hungry children are at greater risk for developmental, cognitive and behavioral problems.
In Atlantic County more than 20,000 students are eligible for free or reduced school lunches. For many this may be the only meal they receive each day for nine months of the year. But when school closes for the summer so too does the guarantee of at least one meal a day for far too many of these children.
In an effort to fill this void, a summer feeding initiative was implemented through the Ventnor School District this past summer in partnership with Atlantic County government, United Way of Atlantic County; the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch; and Let's Eat, a newly formed non-profit organization devoted to preventing hunger among Atlantic County families.
Approximately 65 families received boxes of shelf-staple foods every two weeks from mid-June through mid-August. Boxes were purchased from the Food Bank for $12 each and each one included enough food to feed a family of four, three meals a day for a two week period. Overall 1,200 meals were provided during the first summer of operation. Families were selected for participation based upon criteria for the federal school lunch program.
The partners hope to expand the program next summer. The group is currently in discussions with two additional school districts. But before the program can grow it will need additional help from the community. With support from Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, Margate resident James L. Cooper, founding partner of the Cooper Levenson law firm, established Let's Eat and contributed to funding this pilot program.
"Food is costing more and dollars aren’t stretching as far,” said Cooper. “We're hoping our goal of providing summer feeding programs to meet a need within our communities resonates throughout Atlantic County with friends and neighbors stepping up to make a difference by volunteering or donating to this effort."
Individuals interesting in learning more about the program may contact Cooper at (609) 822-3008 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.