Approximately 16,750 meals will be provided to local children who are at risk of hunger during this summer.
The Sodexo Feeding Our Future® summer meal program expands to the Phoenix area this month to help fill the nutrition gap for local children, which widens with the end of the school year. Feeding Our Future is a summer feeding program in which Sodexo partners with community organizations to provide meals to children in need who are out of school for the summer.
Childhood hunger is a particular concern in Arizona, which ranks third in the country for food insecurity rates with 456,760 children facing hunger on a daily basis, according to Feeding America.
To help address this problem, Sodexo introduces its Feeding Our Future summer meal program to Phoenix. Local kids who are at risk of hunger during the summer will be able to have weekday breakfasts and lunches at two local YMCA locations. Sodexo is leading this collaborative volunteer effort in conjunction with community partners, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, local YMCA locations, FOCUS North America and Sodexo Foundation. In addition to Feeding Our Future, Sodexo also partners with the USDA and its Summer Food Service Program which expects to provide 200 million free summer meals this year to children ages 18 and younger.
“Fighting hunger, and specifically childhood hunger, is central to Sodexo Foundation’s mission. It’s the philanthropic arm of Sodexo where our day-to-day business ties directly to the health and well-being of children,’’ said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation. “We’re happy to be able to expand our national program to the Phoenix community and provide kids needed nourishment to help improve their quality of life.”
Feeding Our Future meals are prepared at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, which was recently named azcentral’s BEST Reader’s Choice winner for “best hospital dining experience,” and distributed by community partner FOCUS North America, a national movement of Orthodox Christians who provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty, to Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA and Ahwatukee Foothill Family YMCA. Approximately 16,750 meals will be served at the two locations through August 7.
During the school year, more than 21 million kids nationwide receive free and reduced-price meals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But when school lets out for the summer, only 3.8 million children participate in summer meal programs. Filling in these meals at home can be difficult for parents. Approximately 43 percent of low-income families say it’s harder to make ends meet during the summer, when grocery expenses increase by $300 a month, according to one national survey.
Feeding Our Future is an 8-12 week summer feeding program, in which Sodexo partners with community organizations to provide meals to children who are out of school for the summer. More than 4 million free meals have been distributed to children nationwide since its inception in 1997. With the addition of Phoenix, it now operates in 24 U.S. cities: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Camden, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Spokane, St. Cloud, St. Louis, Syracuse, Terre Haute and Washington D.C.
For other individuals and families seeking information on how to obtain food, the USDA National Hunger Hotline (1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre) provides callers with locations of emergency food providers in their communities.