One in five children in Bartholomew County — about 4,000 total — may not know where their next meal is coming from. That’s a serious problem.
That might seem shocking considering that data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that Columbus leads Indiana in average per capita personal income, at $47,209, as of 2012.
The Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek school corporations are providing a solution to local food-insecurity challenges this summer. The corporations are offering free breakfasts, lunches and snacks to all children, regardless of family income, weekdays during the summer break from school. Adults can dine for $3 per meal.
The Summer Food Service Program is serving hot meals through Aug. 1 to alleviate food insecurity. That occurs when people don’t have access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Studies have shown that food insecurity puts children at risk for health problems, developmental delay and impaired school performance.
Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek address this issue during the school year by providing free- and reduced-price lunch programs. Now they’re helping fill the summer gap.
Another important aspect of the Columbus program is that it’s linked with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, which is planning fun activities for children at local sites.
This combination of food and engagement can help a lot of families, but only if they take advantage of the opportunity.
The BCSC program served 4,789 free meals in June 2013, and 3,887 in July and October. The fall feeding program was slow to catch on, though, and cooks were throwing away lots of food.
The hope is that more people take advantage of the free meals program. There are plenty of chances because eights sites are serving food.
With these opportunities, there is no reason for children to go hungry this summer.