Rich or poor, that’s a given — and so is the increase in how much families spend on food when the kids are home for three meals a day.
While most families can afford the seasonal rise in the cost of their groceries, many are not as fortunate. And that means children who take part in federally funded free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch programs at their schools are at risk of going hungry when school is out for summer.
Good Samaritan Ministries’ annual Summer Food Program works to reduce that risk for children in Washington, Carter, Unicoi, Johnson and Sullivan counties.
This year, the program will help hundreds of low-income families through three monthly distributions of enough food to feed a family of four for several weeks.
Family registration for Summer Food opens Monday and will continue through April 28. Applications are available at Good Samaritan Ministries offices at 100 N. Roan St., Monday through Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 to 3 p.m.
Eligibility is determined by an assessment of financial need. Referrals from area schools and other human service agencies are also accepted.
This year’s Summer Food distributions are scheduled for May 31, June 28, and July 26. Each of the Summer Food boxes will include frozen meats, canned and dry goods, pastas, breakfast cereals, peanut butter, cheese and fresh produce as well as paper products and cleaning supplies.
Good Samaritan’s annual fundraising drive to cover the cost of the Summer Food program is also underway.
Executive Director Aaron Murphy said Good Samaritan Ministries is only able to conduct the summer food distributions through partnerships with the community. To help local families who are food insecure, the ministry is asking churches, businesses, civic organizations and individuals to consider their opportunities to help.
Food donations and food drives to help fill the food boxes, family sponsorships of $35 for one month or $105 for the entire summer and volunteers to help in on Summer Food distributions will all be required to meet the need.
“We really want the community to be involved,” Murphy said. “We are projecting the need will rise this summer. And we don’t want any children to go hungry, or their families.”
More information about the Summer Food program and how to help can be obtained by contacting Good Samaritan Ministries by calling 423-928-1958 or emailing [email protected]
Tax-deductible monetary donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for Summer Food may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN, 37605.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.