Summer is a special season. It’s a time for vacations, barbecues and fun in the sun. For many of us, it’s a time to take a much needed break and unwind. But for thousands of families around northern New Jersey, it can be the hungriest time of the year. With schools out of session, millions of children nationwide lose access to school lunch and breakfast. Summer feeding programs are a great resource, but they are often underutilized. While participation has improved in recent years, lack of transportation and awareness remain major barriers. It’s estimated that just 15% of kids who receive free- or reduced-price lunch during the school year are participating in summer programs. That leaves a substantial amount of children in at risk of going hungry. Meanwhile, scorching temperatures lead to higher utilities bills, forcing struggling families to stretch their tight budgets even further during the summer time. With options limited, many families turn to their local food pantry for assistance. Food pantries do their best to fill the gap, but they face their own challenges, most notably: food shortages.
In the summer, food shortages are all too common for food pantries. As the school year comes to a close and schedules slow down, so does support. Food drives and collections drop significantly. While many of us are taking a break, hunger continues to rear its ugly head and struggling families are still…struggling. Need for assistance remains high and millions of people turn to pantries as their last line of defense against hunger during the summer months. With limited resources and dwindling supplies, serving clients becomes increasingly difficult for pantries everywhere.
At CUMAC, it’s the first week of summer and we can already see a noticeable difference on our shelves. Despite the decline in donations, we continue to serve thousands of our hungry neighbors every month. But CUMAC’s food supply is shrinking and if this trend continues, we’ll be facing major food shortages in the weeks ahead and that could be devastating for the people who rely on us.
Summer can be a terrifying time of year for families and the pantries that serve them, but it doesn’t have to be. Your support ensures that we can keep our shelves stocked and our clients hunger-free. That’s why we need you to take action. Make a donation or hold a food drive this month and give CUMAC the boost we need to serve all who come our way. Together, we can ensure that everyone in our community gets to enjoy the fun of summer.
**CUMAC is holding a food drive competition this month. We’re giving out 4 free soccer tickets to the individual or group that brings in the most food to CUMAC by July 14. Win or lose, all of your donations will help our neighbors keep food on the table this summer. For more details visit our food drive competition page.**