Summer vacation has started – for most American kids. However, in Michigan’s Monroe County, on the Ohio border, school was canceled so often due to snow and sub-zero temperatures that kids will spend an extra two weeks in the classroom. The saddest thing is that for some kids, an extended school year is the best news they’ll have all summer – because it means they’ll have at least lunch, and maybe breakfast too, for an extra two weeks.
How big of a problem is summer hunger? Well, Gleaners Community Food Bank in southeast Michigan cites Kids Count in Michigan to sum up the needs it hopes to meet this summer.
- More than 48% of school-aged children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. To be eligible for reduced-priced lunches, kids must live at or below 185 percent of poverty, or about $41,000 a year for a family of four.
- Out of the Michigan children who receive free or reduced-price school lunch, 42 percent live in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, or Wayne County.
- More than one in three Michigan children lives in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment.
- 59 percent of Detroit’s children live in poverty; more than double the national rate (23%).
Compounding the summer hunger problem is the seasonal drop in donations food pantries and soup kitchens report every year. Feeding America is having a fund drive right now to combat the summer donation slump. Feeding America is a great cause to support, but you can have an impact in your own neighborhood. No one needs to look very far to find need. The Kids Count Data Center contains information for every state and territory. Look up your region. Find your local food bank or soup kitchen and make a donation.
Please make a difference in a child’s life this summer.