Many of us have heard of Summer Brain drain but did you know that summer is also a time for a nutritional slide? I recently got to sit in on a conference with Dr. Michele Borba a children’s health and development expert and advisor to the Walmart Foundation. The conference was to discuss the Summer Slide and what we as parents can do about it.
While you would think that kids are more active in the summer, with all the outdoor fun and activities. However more relaxed schedules usually means more downtime on their own and being less active. This can also lead to more snacking and poor eating habits. I know in my house that even though we eat pretty healthy and keep good food around that there is an increase in snacks of crackers and convenience foods because the kids can do that themselves. They can’t cut up a watermelon on their own!
Summer also means that a lot of kids will be going without a guaranteed lunch. There are 19.6 million kids in the U.S. who fall into what is know as the “hunger gap”. They are children from lower income families who rely on low and reduced-price school lunches during the school year. In the summer they miss out on those nutritional meals which we know are so important to developing brains.
The Walmart Foundation has given 14 million in grants to the following 5 non profits to help provide 1.7 million children and families with access to free meals and nutrition education.
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- Food Research and Action Center
- National League of Cities Institute for Youth Education and Families
- Texas Hunger Initiative
- YMCA of the USA
In Lake County alone 18% or 34,910 kids face hunger. There are several organizations that are working hard to ensure that those children in the gap get the nutritional lunches they need this summer.
Waukegan Public Schools Free Summer Food Program
The Waukegan Public Schools will be offering a free summer food program June 3 through August 9 for children ages 2 through 18 and all students enrolled in Waukeagn Public Schools. The program serves Breakfast (8-8:30 am) and Lunch (12-12:30) Monday through Friday at the following Locations:
- Carmen Elemtery School (520 Helmhotz Ave 847-360-5465)
- Glen Flor Elementry School (1110 Chestnut Street 847-360-5468)
- Clearview Elementry School (1700 Delaware Road 847-360-5467)
- Waukegan Community Church (1016 Grand Ave 847-360-1008)
- Neustria Sra DeGuadalupe (2415 N. Butrick 847-599-3052) Tesday through Friday only
- Inglesia Amistad y Vida (12085 W. Yorkkhouse Rd 224-717-1013)
Call the individual sites for information and questions.
Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Program (SFP) serves children in need up to age 18 and to those over 18 who are enrolled in a state-approved educational program for mentally or physically disabled. The food bank has 22 different meal programs at 14 sites across Lake County but only one is open to the public:
- Beacon Place (603 McAlister Ave, Waukegan) Serving Lunch M-F June 10 through August 8 11am-1pm
The Food Bank serves about 825 meals each weekday to kids in Lake County. For further information please contact Katie Kowalczyk at the Northern Illinois Food Bank at 630-443-6910.
Other lunch sites as listed on Summer Feeding Illinois are:
- Lakeview School (220 Bethesda Blvd, Zion) Lunch only 11 am – 12 pm June through July 3
- Shiloh Park Elementry School (2635 Gabriel Ave, Zion) Breakfast 7 to 8 am and Lunch 12-1pm June 10 through July 3
If you would like to help these organizations provide meals please see their individual sites.
On Tuesday I will be sharing with you some ways that you can help your kids beat the summer slide and keep eating healthy all summer long!
Disclosure: I was provided this opportunity to learn more about childhood hunger and what the Walmart Foundation is doing through The Motherhood. I have been compensated for my time to research and provide this information. All thoughts and opinions are my own.