As school lets out for the summer, many area families face a dilemma – how will they feed their children when they are not receiving the free breakfast, lunch and snacks they normally get at school? In areas of DuPage and Will counties served by West Suburban Community Pantry, about 9,675 children will need nutritional support through the summer months.
The strain likely is to be more pressing, given the recent cuts in pandemic-level SNAP benefits, according to a news release.
“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,” Suzanne Armato, CEO of the pantry in Woodridge, said in the release. “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, according to the release.
“We know that children who receive adequate nutrition do better physically and socially, and they learn better,” Armato said. “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 and is seeking donations of any amount from members of the community. Individuals and organizations can donate at www.wscpantry.org/summer-hunger.