Addressing Childhood Hunger During Spring Break and Beyond

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Spring Break is often a time of relaxation and a chance for families to unwind and escape the stresses of school. However, for many Utah children, this break from school also means a break from the reliable food they receive through school meal programs. As families struggle to provide additional meals on already tight budgets, childhood hunger becomes even more pronounced during this time. 

The consequences of childhood hunger are severe and far-reaching. Children who experience food insecurity are more likely to face physical, emotional, and developmental challenges, impacting their ability to learn and succeed in school. 

In Utah, 10% of children statewide face hunger and the stress it brings. However, this percentage differs across the state’s regions. Specifically, in the southern and central areas where our Southern Distribution Center and Timpanogos Distribution Center operate, the rate of childhood hunger increases to 13%. In San Juan County, where we’ve established our new Southeastern Distribution Center, the percentage climbs to an alarming 20%. These figures emphasize the critical need for immediate action to tackle food insecurity statewide. 

At Utah Food Bank, we are committed to fighting childhood hunger through various programs.  

Our Mobile School Pantry program provides much-needed food distribution points for children and their families on a monthly basis at the end of the school day during the school year.  

Similarly, the Kids Cafe program offers evening meals to children at risk of hunger, providing food in a safe space for educational and recreational activities. Last year alone, the Kids Cafe program provided over 366,000 meals to children, demonstrating its significant impact on combating childhood hunger. 

As schools close for summer break, we offer the Summer Food Service Program, an extension of our Kids Cafe program. These free meals are available for youth up to the age of 18, at sites throughout Utah often located at libraries, parks, and even splash pads to allow kids to get out of the house, unplug, and play while also enjoying a nutritious free meal. Check back for more information.  

Addressing childhood hunger requires a collective effort to help keep the pantry and distribution centers stocked throughout Utah. Hosting a food drive or a fundraiser is a great way to support Utahns facing hunger. Individuals can also support their communities by volunteering at one of our many warehouses or one of our 245 partner agencies. By coming together to support these initiatives, we can ensure that fewer children go to bed hungry, not just during Spring Break, but every day of the year. 

If you or someone you know is facing food insecurity, call 2-1-1 Information and Referral to learn about resources in your local community that can help meet your needs, or click here to get help. 

Hunger doesn’t take a break, and neither can we. Don’t wait; take action today.