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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: ABCs of the SCV: S is for Summer Meals | 06-22-2013
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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Jun 22, 2013

JenniferFischerFood insecurity and hunger are big deals to me. I am one of those people who believes no one should go hungry, especially in the United States where there is so much excess and abundance all around us, and where food waste is so common.

The Santa Clarita Valley is often perceived as a well-off community, yet I am aware that way too many children in our valley go to bed hungry, and many parents struggle to find the next meal.

While summer often brings excitement and fun with trips to the local swimming hole and free time to play outside, for many children it also means reduced access to food, since they are not attending school where they receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch. In the United States, 21 million children receive free or reduced lunches, but only 3 million take advantage of the free summer meal programs that are available throughout the country.

Here in the SCV, there are six locations that provide healthy summer meals for children, for free. However, many people who could really benefit from these programs might not be aware of them.

Summer meals are typically distributed at noon, and parents do need to sign up their children to receive meals, but the sign-up is free and easy. The six locations are:

* Val Verde Community Center, 30300 Arlington St.

* Newhall Boys & Girls Club, 24909 Newhall Ave.

* Santa Clarita Community Center, 22421 Market Street, Newhall.

* Valley View Elementary School, 19414 Sierra Estates Drive, Canyon Country.

* Canyon Country Boys & Girls Club, 19425 Stillmore St., Canyon Country.

* Leona Cox Community School, 185642 Oakmoor St., Canyon Country.

I encourage you all to share this information with others so  they can spread the word about these resources. If you are part of a “moms” group, community organization or church, those are great places to make announcements and spread the word so individuals who truly need these resources can take advantage of them.

You can also spread the word through social media by texting FOOD to 877-877 anywhere in the United States. People will receive a text that tells them where the nearest summer meal program is located.

Letting people know about this simple way to find out what their community has to offer could really make a big difference in someone’s life.

In the SCV, Help the Children and the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry also provide free food and other key items to families and individuals in need in our communities. They can always use your support, either through monetary donations, food donations or volunteer time.

Help the Children is located at 25030 Avenue Tibbitts in Valencia, and the SCV Food Pantry is located at 24133 Railroad Ave. in Newhall. Urgent needs right now at the Food Pantry are canned tuna, boxed macaroni and cheese, diapers and shampoo.

Finally, for more ways to get involved in the fight against hunger this summer, visit www.nokidhungry.org/summer. There you will find many calls to action and resources including ideas for hosting a Cookout/BBQ to support No Kid Hungry, assistance in contacting your local congressional representatives to support food programs for children in need, and ways to make a donation to support all of the important work that No Kid Hungry does, including their Free Summer Meals program. Right now, Arby’s is matching every donation up to $100,000.

On Tuesday, June 25, I will be hosting a Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive on my blog (jennifischer.blogspot.com) in honor of Eric Carle’s birthday and of the 16 million children in the U.S. who do not know where their next meal is coming from. I am taking the boys on a Hungry Caterpillar scavenger hunt at the grocery store on Monday and getting items that the hungry caterpillar eats, and then donating them. (Help the Children does accept fresh produce donations.) Then, I am using my blog and other social media to spread the word and hope others will also make food or monetary donations in their communities.

I would love it if you would join my food drive by making a food donation or a monetary donation to an organization committed to helping to fight hunger. If you do, pop over to The Good Long Road in Facebookand and let me know.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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2 Comments

  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    I totally love the idea of a Hungry Caterpillar Food Drive!

  2. Guest says:

    A Very Hungry Caterpillar Food Drive is such a great idea. Schools ‘N More will definitely participate and pass the word on through all our social networks. All the best.

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