There’s nothing like hearing early morning screeches of, “Woohoo… Snow day! We got no skew-oooool!”
That’s the type of clamor many parents awoke to this morning as Washingtonians were greeted with a blanket of snow that shut down schools, services and businesses.
After parents wrenched themselves free from their children’s excitement, they begin to try and figure out what to do next. For many moms and dads, the main priority is just keeping kids preoccupied with activities so they’re not getting into trouble. However, for many others families, that concern is coupled with the loss of free or reduced-price meals their kids’ schools were going to provide.
School closures are a burden for almost everyone. Yet, they are extremely problematic for families that rely on schools to feed their children throughout the day. Without those meals, parents who already live on tight budgets have to scramble to nourish their children with very short notice.
The ramifications can be great. Some might lose a day’s income or have to take time off work – yes, there are brave people working today – to watch their children. Others may not be as flexible and have to leave their kids at home with whatever food is left in the cupboard. Ultimately, closures affect quality and/or quantity of meals children receive.
And for a region unaccustomed to multiple heavy snow falls in a given year, closures have taken an insurmountable toll on meals provided. D.C. Public Schools had just one snow day allocated this year. They are now on their fourth! Some counties in Northern Virginia and Maryland are nearly into double digits.
Can we control the weather? Of course not. However, we can ensure kids are well fed regardless of weather conditions.
The Capital Area Food Bank regularly works to alleviate family food shortages through our programs such as Weekend Bags and Family Markets. These efforts regularly supplement families with healthy, nutritious food throughout the year. But, we hope to do more as demand increases, as it will with these closures.
Before throwing on your snow boots and running to grab your child’s sled out of the basement, please take a minute to help us expand our coverage by making a contribution. With your help, we can solve hunger no matter if there is rain, sleet, or snow preventing school meals.