Food pantries need community's help as students begin summer break

Feeding Northeast Florida says need for food increases this time of year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the school year ends and many students in Northeast Florida begin the summer break, Feeding Northeast Florida is asking for the community to help with those who are food insecure.

Food insecurity is a problem that's affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Northeast Florida and there is more need during this time of year.

During the school year, many kids eat at school, but when they are on summer break and at home, families who are food insecure turn to the food pantries in our area for assistance. 

Volunteers with Feeding Northeast Florida sort food to send to various food pantries across the region. 

The organization collects and distributes food year-round to help those who are food insecure, which is about 271,000 people in a total of eight counties. Twenty-eight percent of those people are children under the age of 18.

“That’s thousands of school children for whom this summer means a less stable supply of food,” Director of relationship management Sarah Dobson said.

Dobson said during the summer, the need for food increases because students are out of school and don't have a school breakfast or lunch to rely on.

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“When the kids don’t have enough food, that also provides or causes I should say, a big stress at home for families," Dobson said. "So, there are these negative ripple effects that as a community, it’s important that we all work together to help provide food for the kids and their families.”

Dobson said that need continues throughout the summer until kids return to school.

Feeding Northeast Florida is asking the community for more donations to prepare for the summer months when the demand becomes higher. The organization is also asking for more volunteers as well as monetary donations.

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