Thursday, June 20, 2013
Summer Food Program Kicks Off in Fairview
The program aims to keep hundreds of local kids from going hungry this summer.
Most of us miss a meal here and there and don't really think much about it. Whether busy schedules or diets are the culprit, when we're ready to eat, all it takes is a trip to the fridge or the grocery store.
But a growing number of Alaskan children don't have those options and for some kids, regular meals are almost a luxury, particularly during in the summer.
“In general we have low-income kids everywhere…little pockets of low-income folks all throughout the city,” said Susannah Morgan of the Food Bank of Alaska.
And it’s not just one side of town going hungry. Kids from Muldoon to Southside are looking for food.
“We don't feel like by offering it on the Southside we are wasting our time,” said Joel Kiekintveld, executive director of Parachutes, a teen club in the Dimond Center.
He said he serves food in the summer to many of the children and teens he regularly sees during the school year.
But this summer more families are struggling to get by and that means more kids are missing meals and going hungry because there aren't any school lunches during the summer months.
Wednesday was the kickoff for the summer food service program that offers free meals at various sites across the state and here in Anchorage.
“I work in retail so our hours get dropped and we have to find ways to work around the whole check-to-check thing,” said Siquita Marshall, parent of twin daughters Junior and Peeka.
Her family relies on programs like the Food Bank of Alaska's summer food service program to get by.
Not having snacks, lunches, and dinners negatively affects kids’ behavior, attention and development and it’s a problem that officials say could be easily fixed if more people got on board.
“They can't learn, they can't play, they get weak, they get dizzy” if they don’t eat, said Morgan.
“I think everyone should care if kids are going hungry,” she continued.