This guest post is provided by and sponsored by the YMCA and Walmart.
Childhood hunger may seem like a third-world problem, but more than 16 million American children live in homes that are food insecure. This means there is not enough food served regularly to satisfy the nutritional needs of the family.
Hunger can cause a variety of mental, physical and behavioral problems in children. Children from food insecure households are more than 31 percent more likely to be hospitalized at least once since birth, and suffer from headaches, stomachaches and immunity problems.
In the US, more than 30 million children receive free or reduced-cost meals from the National School Lunch Program. Teachers often supplement these programs by buying food for their classrooms – in fact, in a recent poll, 10% of teachers said they buy food every week for hungry students.
If so many children rely on the educational system to get the nutrition they need, what happens during the summer months? Again, the federal government pitches in with the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program during the summer, but only 2.3 million of the 30 million take advantage of it. That means a substantial number of children are losing their main source of nutritional meals for months out of the year.
The YMCA, with its dedication to nourishing the bodies and minds of America’s youth, has partnered with the Walmart Foundation to provide 5 million meals and snacks to more than 150,000 children and teenagers (ages 5 to 18) in more than 1,000 communities nationwide.
Check out this video that shows that great work the YMCA Summer Food program is doing in this community.