Afterschool Meal Program
More than 16 million children and teens under 18 live with food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And when the school day ends, many of these youth are at risk of going hungry.
Combining academics and nutrition, the Y is offering an Afterschool Meal Program to provide children with nutrition and academic enrichment activities so they can be healthy and succeed in school.
As part of our focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y is committed to keeping children nourished all year long. More than 1,400 YMCA afterschool programs are providing learning enrichment and physical activities to keep minds and bodies active, while also serving healthy food.
Our goal is to serve 7.5 million meals and snacks to children this year. We've served 5 million meals so far.
How You Can Help
Working together can have the greatest impact in alleviating child hunger. Here are three simple things anyone can do to alleviate child hunger in their own communities:
1. Put excess to good use
Having extra can help feed those with less. On the next few visits to the grocery store, if possible, buy one or two extra non-perishable food items. Items like pastas, canned tuna and dried beans can be donated to those in need. At the end of the month, gather those items and donate them to the nearest food bank, homeless shelter or church outreach program. Families can likely find even more opportunity to donate by cleaning out their pantries seasonally.
2. Make it a group effort
There is strength in numbers – and the power to make a difference. Join others who share a cause for fighting hunger by volunteering at a soup kitchen (unpacking boxes, cooking or serving food), participating in a community food drive for a food bank, or working with a church’s community outreach. Assemble a team of co-workers, neighbors or friends to join the effort.
3. Become an advocate
Spreading the word about a program or organization that truly makes a difference can help expand its reach. Further support the efforts of organizations like the Y by reaching out to those in need and letting them know the programs exist.