1 in 5 children in Nebraska are considered food insecure, meaning they may not know where their next meal is coming from.
Mariel Harding, Director of Health and Food Security for United Way of the Midlands, says this month, United Way is trying to shine the light on how family food needs change in the summer when kids are out of school.
Some students qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year but in summer, when these supports are not available, families have to find new ways to provide meals.
Harding says there’s a lot of pressure on adults in the summer as they have to buy extra food to meet their family’s needs.
"The costs for food go up about $300 for families in the summer. That can be the difference between meeting your budget and not meeting your budget. So that increased demands on pantries. Sometimes it’s grandparents who come in because they’re watching the grandkids and they’re out of school while parents continue to work. So we are trying to share this information that in the summer there are increased needs. And it’s not just kids who might need some extra support in the summer to meet their food needs.”
Harding says United Way invests in a variety of programs to help both kids and adults including food pantries that serve the whole family, meal programs for homeless and low-income individuals and community gardens.
She says with the help of corporate and individual donors, United Way of the Midlands will continue to invest in these programs and partner with organizations to help meet food needs in the community.
More information is available at UnitedWayMidlands.org/silencethegrowlgc.