Summer Lunch Assistance for Princeton Rec Campers
Organized by: kirsten haley
Sitting in the middle of farm country New Jersey, with great restaurants and markets on every corner, it can be impossible to imagine that hunger exists in our town. But it does. And in our case, it is the children... the friends and classmates of our own children... that suffer the most and at the same time, are mostly helpless to change their situation.
Free and reduced lunch programs and initiatives like Send Hunger Packing help provide some stability and support throughout the school year... but with summer vacation, those safety nets shift and leave huge holes in making sure all of our community's children have a meal they can count on during the day.
Some of our kids are looking forward to evenings of bbq and smores or cold watermelon on a hot day and some of our kids are truly unsure of their next meal.
Like many issues swirling around us... its a complicated problem and won't be fixed overnight...it can feel overwhelming and we can feel helpless in the face of it... But then sometimes a window appears and there is a small thing that can be done, simple, immediate and possible, that can actually make things a little better for some.
In this case, we have 28 children who have been given scholarships to the Princeton Recreation Dept Summer Camp. This is fantastic but it comes with one major drawback. These children are asked to provide their own lunch, hopefully something healthy and consistent... and that is just not possible for some of these families. I've seen for myself, these campers, sitting by the CP pool watching their friends devour lunch and they just watch. A day spent running full tilt in the hot sun, you are 9-years old, growing like a weed and there is no lunch for you.
For $2, the Rec Dept could provide, with the help of local food banks and Send Hunger Packing, this child with lunch. $10 for a week of lunches. $80 for an entire summer. That's it. That's all it would take to make sure a child... one your own child probably knows from class or sports or dance or even camp... one you would happily take out for pizza or to the movies or into your own home for dinner... one no different from your own adorable, exasperating child... that's all it would take to make sure this one silly hole is filled. Done. One less place for this child to feel anxious and unsure about something as basic as lunch.
I will spend the next year trying to figure out a way for this gap to close permanently. But this summer we don't have that luxury. We just need to cover these 28 children. Please help. Any amount makes a difference.