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Many families rely on the free & discounted meals provided to their children by schools throughout the year. When summer begins and the school year ends, the heads of these families struggle to provide good food for their children, if they can at all.
This quote from the USDA, the federal agency that provides free and reduced-price meals (FARMS) via the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), outlines the major issues for children living in poverty once the school year is over. Simply looking at the statistics for Anne Arundel County children taking advantage of NSLP brings into sharp relief just how much of an issue this is for our community: over 25,000 utilize FARMS benefits. That breaks down to nearly 32% of our county's children that buy school lunches who would have a hard time receiving or affording meals otherwise. This means that a very large number of our children are being set up for the aforementioned cycle of poor performance and poor health.
Over the last 14 months Food Link has served well over 2,000 individuals just at our HQ in Annapolis. Roughly ¾ of those individuals are children, showing just how many school aged children Food Link has already helped, as well as giving a picture of the reach we have to help those children needing food assistance when summer vacation begins. Having enough child specific food in our pantry is a difficult task through donations alone. While we receive a myriad of food items in our regular donations, kids can have a more limited palate and often struggle with food allergies that limit their choices. Having healthy foods on hand, alongside foods that picky or allergic children require, is vitally important. Foods like canned fruits, vegetables, cereal, macaroni & cheese, along with shelf stable milk and proteins, are the kinds of things that can be the most important but the hardest to come by.
If you're wondering how you can make a difference this summer, please consider making a donation to Food Link. We will be using your assistance to ensure the pantry remains stocked with the essential foods that may otherwise be in short supply to meet the increased needs of FARMS children and their families during these crucial summer months. We expect that this will help to ensure those children that would otherwise go hungry will be fed. This will, in turn, put them in a better position to succeed and keep them healthy from the start of summer break until the end, upon which subsidized meals can resume.
Hope you and your loved ones are enjoying a fun, carefree and healthy summer!
Cathy L. Bird, Executive Director,
Staff & Board of Food Link
IMPORTANT NOTICE: if you are in need of emergency assistance. We cannot guarantee someone will be here to take care of walk-ins.
Effective immediately, the emergency pantry is ONLY open on Tuesday and Friday.
YOU MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT...
Hours of Business:
Food Link Offices will be open on
Tuesday - Thursday, 9 -4
and Friday 9 - 3
Summertime Emergency Needs
pancake mix (complete and just add water)
macaroni and cheese with cheese sauce all ready made
Walmart Awards $30,000 Grant to Support and Expand the Wholesale Produce Program, June 2015. [read more]
THANK YOU for your generous donations through The Great Give 2015!
Food Link, Inc.
2666 Riva Road
3rd Floor MS 8302
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-897-3941 (main/Paula Gordon)
410-897-3942 (main/Cathy Holstrom-Bird)