Imagine a child who does not look forward to the joy of summer.
The summer months are a challenging time for families across South Carolina. Throughout the school year, 54% of school age children in our state are on the free or reduced price lunch program. Eighty-four per cent are on the free or reduced price breakfast program.
24% of South Carolina’s children live in poverty.
The free or reduced price meals served at South Carolina schools give struggling families a little economic breathing room. With 24.4% of our children living below the basic poverty level, the meals they are served in school are the most nutritious and dependable they get throughout the year. Many of these school age children bring portions of their school meals home to share with their younger siblings. But for three months those children are at home, and do not have access to this lifeline. Their parents must cope with providing two additional meals per day per child, and it is often beyond their means. While many of us think of summer as a time of vacation, for almost 350,000 South Carolina children summer is a time of anxiety and pain.
There is no vacation from hunger.
South Carolina’s four food banks - Golden Harvest Food Bank, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Lowcountry Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina – all see a tremendous surge in need during the summer months. Collectively, our four hunger relief organizations must find the means to raise and distribute 15 million pounds of food during June, July and August this year to meet that need. As CEO of Harvest Hope, as a long-serving member of the South Carolina Food Bank Association (which comprises the four food banks listed above) and someone who stays in constant contact with my colleagues at the three other South Carolina hunger relief non-profits, I know what a challenge it is to find the resources to get this food when most everyone is thinking of vacation and our donation levels drop. It is a challenge for all of us.
Fortunately, there is a valuable and generous new partner to help us meet that challenge.
To help feed the hungry in South Carolina communities, the South Carolina Food Bank Association announces the Border to Border Hunger Challenge sponsored by Wells Fargo, a statewide donation matching campaign that will provide $150,000 to help hungry people through our food banks. From now until June 15, Wells Fargo will match donations made to our state’s four food banks one to one once they collectively raise $150,000.
This generous matching campaign will help our food banks as they enter the most difficult and demanding time of the year. The Border to Border Hunger Challenge sponsored by Wells Fargo will provide a wonderful beginning at this difficult time of year by giving a financial boost to us to start the summer.
Donating is easy – visit http://scfoodbankassociation.org/ to learn more about the Border to Border Hunger Challenge. Choose from the tabs on the left of the page to easily donate to your local food bank and your gift will automatically be matched! Every donation made to any of the four food banks from May 14 to June 15 will be matched and will greatly help in our efforts to feed hungry children this summer.
This is also a time of year to think about those that have made a difference in our lives and about giving in their honor or memory. Is there a teacher who has made a lasting impact on your children? An armed services member you know who would be honored by knowing that a hungry family had more on their table because of them? You can make an Honorarium gift to honor friends, family members, business colleagues, neighbors or others close to you to help in our mission of feeding hungry families. Find out how donate a memoriam or honorarium: Tabitha Demetra – firstname.lastname@example.org
So please take a little time out from planning all the wonderful family activities you have in mind for the summer, and think of those families who cannot even plan on their next good meal. Know that for a limited time your generous efforts to help them will be met by the generosity of Wells Fargo. Your gifts will go far toward feeding our hungry South Carolina children.
And for that kindness I am grateful.
In loving appreciation,
CEO – Harvest Hope Food Bank