If you’re a teacher, you know all too well that for millions of children, summer is the hungriest time of year. More than 21 million American kids get free or reduced-price lunch at school. And when those meals disappear, they find themselves hungry and with few options.
The team at Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) — which has activated 475,953 volunteers to package 71,806,329 meals for hungry people all over the world — has the answer to help at no cost.
Fed 40 is a first-of-its-kind mobile app designed to fight hunger in America. Using the app, families can request meals directly from FCE. Then, a package of 40 servings of FCE’s Red Lentil Jambalaya is delivered to their front door in about one business day at no charge.
Families can reorder meals as often as they need them, always at no charge.
Caring teachers at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) College of Education and Human Performance, who wanted to provide healthy meals for the students at Orlando’s Tangelo Park Elementary School, are using Fed 40 to help feed these students and their families.
The College of Education and Human Performance recently gathered a team of 50 volunteers — including staff members from the elementary school — to package 5,040 meals that would be sent home with the students for summer break.
These meals were packaged in Fed 40 boxes along with a card containing information on how to request future meals at no charge using the Fed 40 app.
“Programs like Fed 40 are providing the students of Tangelo Park and their families with an opportunity to eat when they might not have that opportunity,” says Jordan Grushka, recruitment coordinator at the College of Education and Human Performance at UCF. “If they aren’t receiving meals while they’re at home for the summer, they are going to bed hungry and waking up hungry. But with Fed 40, they can get a box of meals delivered to their home with no shame and no questions asked. This is how we’re fighting hunger.”
Before volunteers began packing meals, Christie Rae, principal at Tangelo Park, shared a heartbreaking story about one of her students:
“We were talking, and he looked over at the clock and noticed the date. He was thrilled and exclaimed, ‘Only four days until we get our food stamps!’” she remembered, choking back tears. “His family has been struggling, and they rely on food stamps for their meals. These kids are still growing, and their bodies need nutrients in order for their brains to grow as well. We truly don’t realize how blessed we are just to have two to three meals a day.”
There was hardly a dry eye in the room as volunteers got into assembly lines and in one hour packaged more than 5,000 meals.
The following day, more than 100 elementary students went home from school with 40 servings of FCE’s Red Lentil Jambalaya meal.
“We cannot begin to thank FCE enough for this partnership, and for this amazing Fed 40 initiative,” Rae shared at the end of the project. “What you all are doing is truly making such a difference in the lives of our children.”
Originally published at medium.com