For many children across the country, summertime is a welcomed break from school to enjoy time with friends, days at the pool and summer camp. But for some U.S. kids who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year, summertime can often mean the worry of going hungry when they no longer have access to nutritious meals on a regular basis.
In Louisiana, over 83% of children rely on the free and reduced meals program and receive most of their calories at school. In summer, these kids have little other access to food. Since 2010, Second Harvest’s Summer Feeding program has worked with local schools, camps and agencies to alleviate this need.
A beneficiary of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation since 2010, Second Harvest Food Bank is the largest anti-hunger network in the state and believes that no child should have to worry about going hungry during the summertime. Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted a total of $250,000 over 6 years, providing nutrition to high-poverty neighborhoods in New Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and surrounding parishes. This summer alone, 4,000 unique children at risk of hunger at 65 safe sites will benefit from this program, receiving breakfast, lunch and snack.
Summer meals are prepared fresh each day by Second Harvest volunteers, delivered free of charge and meet or exceed USDA nutritional guidelines, ensuring that at-risk youth have access to food and the benefits that come from being well-nourished and ready to learn.
The Foundation recently celebrated an amazing milestone by reaching it’s one millionth meal provided through this unique program with Second Harvest.
“The support of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation over the last six years has been literally life-changing for so many young people in South Louisiana," said Natalie Jayroe, President and CEO of Second Harvest. “I can’t stress enough the positive impact these Summer Feeding sites have made in the lives, nutrition and well-being of some of our most vulnerable children, and to the overall health of our communities. We’re so proud to partner with the Foundation to reach this milestone, and look forward to many more.
By providing food to 582 partners and programs across 23 parishes, Second Harvest leads the fight against hunger in the region. Every year, Second Harvest secures millions of pounds of food that otherwise would have gone to waste and helps ensure that these meals make it to the dinner tables of thousands of families struggling with hunger in South Louisiana.
“No child should ever have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from,” said Brian Kish, President of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. “Making good, nutritious food available for children during the summer helps ease that burden, and we’re honored to take part in this huge milestone with Second Harvest.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is proud to support organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank who are striving to end hunger in our community. Learn more about how you can get involved and support causes making a difference here.