Sodexo’s Feeding Our Future summer meal program returns to Chattanooga for 2013, once again helping to fill the nutrition gap that widens when the school year ends. The program, led by Sodexo, is a collaborative volunteer effort with local business and non-profit partners including BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Eastlake Boys & Girls Club, Highland Park Boys & Girls Club, Inner City Ministries and Sodexo Foundation. Feeding Our Future in Chattanooga runs from May 28–July 26.
Nationally, more than 16 million kids are at risk of hunger, and according to statistics released this month by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, more than 27 percent of Chattanooga-area children are “food insecure.” That is more than 66,100 children who, without the support of free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch, are often uncertain about the source of their next meal. Supplemental nutrition programs like Feeding Our Future and other federally funded summer food service programs help fill the gap. Feeding Our Future has already provided more than 82,900 meals in Chattanooga and it is slated to provide an additional 15,500 meals to support children in local communities this summer.
“During the school year, 21 million kids receive free and reduced-price meals, but when the school year ends only 2.3 million of those eligible are aware of or have access to summer feeding programs,” said George Chavel, president and CEO, Sodexo. “We created Feeding Our Future to help close the gap and to do our part to improve the quality of life for children in the communities that we serve.”
Feeding Our Future currently operates in 24 U.S. cities and has provided more than 3.4 million meals to children nationwide since it began in 1997. This summer, the program is estimated to serve 400,000 healthy meals to children in need. While it is considered a “closed program,” for pre-registered participants, families and organizations can locate “open programs” offering free summer meals in their community by contacting Sodexo partners at No Kid Hungry, calling the National Hunger Hotline at 866-3-Hungry or texting Food to 877-877 to find a nearby site.
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