“When I grow up, I want to be a gymnast like Gabby Douglas,” says nine-year old Sydney Greene.*
Each day, the bright-eyed student walks three blocks from her elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia to the Harvey Hall Community Center to receive homework assistance and a hot, healthy after-school meal.
The program, hosted by a low-income housing complex in Alexandria, Virginia, is one of 66 after-school meal sites supported by the Capital Area Food Bank throughout the region. It provides nutrition and academic support to 2,500 children daily to help them reach their full potential.
Luckily for Sydney, the Harvey Hall program will continue this summer when school is out of session, so she can continue learning, growing and realizing her dreams. Watch the Harvey Hall Program in action!
During the summertime, however, many families struggle to feed their children when they don’t have access to free and reduced school lunch programs. According to Share Our Strength, a nonprofit aiming to end childhood hunger, low-income families spend an average of $300 more per month on food during the summer months when kids are out of school. Nearly 200,000 children and teens are at risk of hunger in the Washington metro region; and 1 in 3 children in the District struggles to get enough food to eat.
To respond to this need, the CAFB stepped up its support to children and families by participating in the summer meal program. In partnership with state agencies and with support from the USDA Summer Food Service Program, the food bank will host 23 summer meal sites in the District of Columbia, 24 in Northern Virginia and 27 in Maryland to feed more than 2,500 children daily.
In addition to the summer meal program, the food bank participates in the Fresh Produce Grant, a farm program that connects 10 partner agencies with 4,000 pounds of high-quality produce from Claggett Farm and Waterpenny Farm.
Community partners also help the CAFB address the summer meal gap. Top DC attorneys, including Former U.S. Attorney General and Governor of Pennsylvania Dick Thornburgh, participated in a month-long competition led by the Washington legal community to raise food and funds for the Capital Area Food Bank. With help from over 30 local law firms, law schools and legal organizations, the annual Food From The Bar campaign raised over $130,000. Proceeds will help provide over 300,000 meals for residents in need.
“The Food From the Bar campaign embodies how working together as a legal community can yield the opportunity to feed thousands of our friends and neighbors when they are most in need,” says Dick Thornburgh, K&L Gates Counsel and Honorary Chairman of the 2014 D.C. Food From the Bar campaign.
To learn how you can help the Capital Area Food Bank close the summer meal gap, visit our website to learn about volunteer opportunities and campaigns.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.