Food insecure families find relief with free after-school meals
SALISBURY, Md. – With school back in session, students are back in the classroom learning but many kids on the Eastern Shore are getting more than their daily instruction. Many are also receiving breakfast and lunch.
But what about those after-school meals? It’s a concern for many but one that local organizations are trying to fill this school year.
“One in every six children here on the Eastern Shore don’t know when they are going to eat, let alone if its going to be a nutritious meal,” explains Jennifer Small, Director of Maryland Food Bank Eastern Shore.
That’s 14,000 kids right here on the shore who are food insecure and even with school back in session, the question becomes..are all meals covered?
“We know children in school have access to breakfast and lunch, what happens after that?”
It’s a question that thousands of parents have who are trying to make ends meet, but it’s one that the Maryland Food Bank is trying to take care of.
“The Supper Club program helps them to have a hot dinner at night after school so that when they go home, there is no stressor as to where that next meal is coming from. And we all know if they go to bed with hungry tummies, they’re going to wake up and not be able to concentrate at school,” explains Small.
Local after school programs like Salisbury Urban Ministries’s Kids’ Cafe are also stepping in to help provide that much needed meal.
“A lot of kids in the Church Street area sometimes don’t have food or meals at home when they get home from after school and we are able to provide that one meal and a snack before they get home,” says Carlyse Matthews, Youth Coordinator for the Kids’ Cafe at Urban Ministries.
Meals that are bringing a big sigh of relief to families in need and students who are getting them.
“To remove one stressor from that family unit, a meal for their child or children really helps them stretch the value of a dollar,” adds Small.
Matthew says, “They’re not worrying about their stomachs growling because they know that they’re full so now they can focus on their homework and get it done.”
The Food Bank’s Supper club program rolls out next week. For more information on how to get involved or sign up you can go to their website and click on the tab ‘need food’. Then all you have to do is plug in your zip code and all participating places will pop up.