Summer fun at risk for hungry children

July 14, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Written By: Jasen Obermeyer

Summer vacation for most kids is about having fun. For others, it’s looking for meals, but Orangeville Food Bank and Food Banks Canada are looking for program solutions.    

According to Food Banks Canada website, “one third of Canadian parents from low to middle income families struggle to provide one meal to their children every day during summer vacation.”

During school, “20 per cent of parents rely on breakfast and other food programs for their kids.” Double the amount reported avoiding having their kid’s friends over to feed their families.    

Heather Hayes, Executive Director of Orangeville Food Bank, says they see 420 people a month, 42 per cent are children. Last summer, they saw 641 people, 175 kids, passing 19,000 pounds of food, 4,000 more than during school time. 

She says the amount of donations isn’t the same during summer.

Ms. Hayes says the Food Bank’s program “Kids Zone” allows parents with children under 18 to come for monthly orders of healthy foods, including carrots, apples, oranges, yogurt and lunch snacks. 

She says that since 2014, children’s usage of the food bank has increased 32 per cent. Last June they saw 134 children and 341 people in total, while the flow this past June increased to 171 children and 414 people. 

Pam Jolliffe, Interim Executive Director for Food Banks Canada, says of the 360,000 Ontario food banks users per month, 1 in 3 are children.   

“People don’t think about this very much, but food banks tend to get the biggest number of donations in the winter time and the donations tend to fall off in the summer time.”

One recent solution has Food Banks Canada and Kellogg Canada creating a summer program called “After the Bell”, providing 120,000 mini-meals to food banks for almost 13,000 kids across Canada. 

Although the program isn’t in Orangeville, Ms. Jolliffe says they’re hoping increasing the following years.

Ms. Hayes says people can donate through drop off bins at any Orangeville grocery store. With monetary donations, every dollar donated can stretch to three dollars for purchasing fresh and perishable foods.   

Donations can be made online through

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