For many kids, summer means swimming, hours of playtime and fun in the sun. But summer also presents a challenge for children in our area who count on their schools for healthy meals.
When the school bell rings to mark the beginning of the long summer recess, thousands of low-income children lose access to the school breakfasts and lunches that they rely on during the school year. School may take a vacation for the summer, but hunger does not.
More than 60% of Collier County students receive free or reduced lunches throughout the school year.
The summer is a critical time for food in Southwest Florida. With the seasonality of our market, resources are down just when the need is increasing significantly. Couples and single mothers are raising children in poverty with more than 60% of Collier County students receiving free and reduced lunches throughout the school year.
The service and healthcare industries employ many families in the county and most of these families experience a dip in their working hours during the summer months. This leads to some hard decisions for some: Do they pay rent or buy groceries? The result is that there is a rise in the rates of homelessness and hunger in the summer months as families already on the edge struggle to make ends meet.
During the renovations of our Naples shelter, the Campbell Lodge, we’ve temporarily moved our food pantry. In the interim, we have an opportunity to expand our direct assistance food programs into neighborhoods that need it the most.
Beginning in early June, St. Matthew’s House will begin operating a new mobile pantry initiative. The St. Matthew’s House Mobile Pantry will meet in East Naples twice a week and travel to locations identiﬁed with the most need.
With this enhanced program, it is our goal to work with our community partners to get vital resources to the people when and where they need them. We are asking the community to join with us in helping our neighbors when they need it most. We hope that increased food donations and volunteer efforts will allow our new mobile pantries to serve those in our community who otherwise might not get to the resources they so desperately needed at this time of year.
Your generosity and kindness can help St. Matthew’s House reach more people in need this summer. Our unique model guarantees that 100% of your contribution goes directly to our life-saving and life-changing programs in our community.
Tags: Collier County, hunger, summer food