More than 13 million children and teens under 18 live with food insecurity. When the school day ends, many of these youth are at risk of going hungry, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Y is partnering with Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS) to offer an Evening Meal Program that provides children with nutritious food to ensure they have access to meals during out-of-school time, when they need them most. CISS provides the meals to the Y as part of their successful food service job training program for clients. Kids eat. Adults find jobs. It’s a win-win!
As part of our focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y is committed to keeping children nourished all year long. More than 1,400 YMCA afterschool programs throughout the country provide learning enrichment and physical activities to keep minds and bodies active, while also serving healthy food. We’re proud to be one of those locations.
How you can help
Here are three simple things you can do to help alleviate child hunger in your own community:
1. Put excess to good use
On the next few visits to the grocery store, buy one or two extra non-perishable food items such as pastas, canned tuna and dried beans. At the end of the month, gather those items and donate them to the nearest food bank, homeless shelter or church outreach program. Families can find even more opportunity to donate by cleaning out their pantries seasonally.
2. Make it a group effort
Join others in fighting hunger by volunteering at a soup kitchen, participating in a community food drive, or working with a church’s community outreach. Assemble a team of co-workers, neighbors or friends to join the effort!
3. Become an advocate
Spreading the word about a program or organization that truly makes a difference can help expand its reach. Further support the efforts of organizations like the Y by reaching out to those in need and letting them know the programs exist.
South Suburban Y's evening meals are offered Monday through Friday from 4:15-5:30 p.m. Call 515 285 0444 to confirm times as slight changes may be made with meal times.