Childhood hunger is all too real. Anyone working with children and the issues that concern them understands that poverty and hunger go hand-in-hand. Georgia has the 6th highest rate of childhood poverty in the U.S. and, in 2014, ranked 47th for food insecurity. More than 1 in 4 of Georgia’s children are food insecure!
School lunch (and breakfast) programs and SNAP programs are critically important in helping to feed the many children living in poverty. But these programs are underfunded and, combined with limited access to healthy foods, children and their families continue to experience days without adequate or nutritious food.
Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church at Emory has studied food insecurity in various Atlanta neighborhoods. By talking with residents and other organizations, they found that hunger peaks on weekends and in summer months when school meal programs are not available. Volunteers and staff worked together to develop a program called “Snack in a Backpack” that delivered packs filled with nutritious snacks and non-perishable proteins to children in neighborhoods that Glenn had been working in. The deliveries were made on Fridays to ensure the children had food for the weekend. Follow-up research showed that the program was highly valued by families receiving the packs in that the food helped fill gaps in their limited food budgets.
UUCA’s Promise the Children is teaming up to support Glenn Memorial’s “Snack in a Backpack” program this fall. (We already work closely with them with our own UUCA Hope-Hill/Partners in Education work!) Snack in a Backpack is a great partner activity — Glenn Memorial has wisely sought input directly from the targeted communities and focused attention on improving the efficiency of its program to deliver the right snacks at the right time. They work closely with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and many volunteers throughout the area.
UUCA is excited to be able to hit the ground running by supporting this fine program. Look for more details to learn how you and your friends can help support Snack in a Backpack as we schedule dates to fill the packs, and begin collecting donations of money and specific food items used in the program. If you have any questions, contact Evelyn Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-310-9833