Sparkt Bridges

The Quest To Feed Hungry Kids

Thousands of groups nationwide are making sure kids have food this summer. Here's the story of one of them.

This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.

What if someone told you that you suddenly had to spend $300 more in your budget this month? And next month. And the next. What would you cut out? What would you keep?

That's the dilemma facing millions of families when it comes to something as basic as food this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Families count on kids being able to get a healthy meal at school each day. With schools closed, many school districts continued to feed students with grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.

But when summer vacation started, all that went away, leaving, as most experts believe, a $300 a month hole in the budgets of many already struggling families.

Volunteers like Diane Doyle are working to make sure that children have enough to eat this summer.

In communities across the country, non-profit groups like Pittsburgh's North Hills Cares have stepped in, with volunteers who are passionate about making sure that no child in their neighborhood goes hungry:

The organization Feeding America says because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children. That's 18 million kids who might not know where their next meal is coming from.

These volunteers work hard to make sure kids are getting healthy, balanced meals, full of fresh vegetables and fruit.

I serve as a board member and volunteer at North Hills Cares so I'm especially proud of our group. But let's give a high-five to every other summer lunch program across the country, where volunteers are working hard to make sure the kids in their neighborhoods have enough to eat this summer. We can't think of anything better.

The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.

How can you start something good?

Click here to help North Hills Cares' effort to feed kids this summer.

If you'd like to help hungry people in your own community, you can plug in your zip code at the Feeding America website to find a food bank where you live, where you can make a donation of money or food, and volunteer to help.

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