This summer a coalition of organizations fed over 1,000 meals to children who come from families that couldn’t guarantee they would get a nutritious meal every day over the summer. When school is in, their school fills in that gap. When school is out, they depend on community organizations for food. The Bold Goals Coalition-Health is one of those organizations.
These summer meals will send children into the school year nourished and prepared for the year ahead. They are among the 22.5% (or 247,140)* children in Alabama who are food-insecure and already require food assistance during the school year but are critical food insecure in the summer.
This year, we have 14 meal-distribution sites serving approximately 70,000 meals to more than 1,100 children, but thousands of children in Central Alabama still need our services. United Way supports the Bold Goals Coalition in its effort to tackle health disparities.
We have so many successes we are already planning to expand our program next year, and we’re asking the Central Alabama community to invest now in next year’s feeding program. It’s a great way to celebrate our commitment to making sure that every child has the tools to learn.
The program manager at the YMCA Youth Center said that many of the children they serve come from homes where the children aren’t getting a healthy meal on a daily basis. According to YMCA Youth Center Director, Beau Walker, last year they actually had children who would sneak extra food because they just weren’t full. This year, with funding from the summer feeding program, Walker said he’s seen a change in how the children eat and behave. He said the Youth Center set up a “share table” so the children can leave food items they don’t want and exchange it for another item or just leave the item there for other children. “Because they are satisfied, they started sharing with others,” he added.
The Bold Goals Coalition is a community-based initiative to align efforts aimed at addressing disparities in education, health and financial stability in the Central Alabama region (consisting of Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties). Impact-area workgroups make up key regional leaders from businesses, non-profits, and government and education systems.
It is critical we expand our summer feeding program sites, and we are starting now to plan for 2019. Our community demonstrates that it wants every child to succeed in school and you can help by donating to our Summer Feeding Program.