Today, June 6th, marks National Hunger Awareness Day. As we near the halfway point in the year, pandemic financial relief is phasing out while inflation is on the rise. A large and growing number of Connecticut families are struggling to put food on the table.
For our Golf Outing fundraiser event last month (thank you to all who participated!), one of the mothers who benefits from Filling in the Blanks, Joanna, shared some beautiful reflections that speak to her all-too-common struggle with food insecurity, her immense love for her son, and her appreciation for neighbors who are helping. Joanna lives in Norwalk, where our warehouse is located and where two-thirds of students are eligible for free school meals. Here is the beautiful note she shared with us:
“My name is Joanna, I have a 6-year son in kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary School in Norwalk. We have been a part of the Filling in the Blanks organization since October of 2021. This organization has done so much for my son and I.
Being a single, full-time working mother, it’s hard to get to the grocery store during the week or even on the weekends. So having the bagged food products every week has helped and benefited me and my son tremendously. It’s truly a blessing to have an organization like Filling in the Blanks that cares for low-income people such as myself.
Being able to provide for my son is number one, and having nutritional food in the kitchen is key. He loves the pastas, mac and cheese, the chocolate chip granola bars, and the apple sauce pouches. To be able to cook his favorite meals and sit down and talk about his day at school is the highlight of my day.
I’m so very appreciative of this organization. I truly don’t know where I would be if organizations like this didn’t exist. It really helps the community to thrive, and it brings people together. I want my son to grow and learn, and that starts with the right healthy foods. I also feel like all schools across the country should have organizations like this and if they don’t, they should start right away. This organization keeps food on the table for those who need it most, and I’m so glad that it has helped me and my son.”
As Joanna and all loving parents know, a child who is well fed is a child who can focus in the classroom and perform better in school, feels better emotionally, can be a kid without worrying about where their next meal is coming from, and will achieve greater long-term success in life.
We can’t overstate the power of relieving families of food insecurity on the weekends; especially during the summer when food insecurity rates traditionally rise. We also can’t overstate the impact that Filling in the Blanks has on volunteers of all ages. One of our Youth Volunteers recently said it best:
“I really like being able to support and help an organization that I believe is making a difference and filling a necessary gap in our community. Volunteering at Filling in the Blanks has changed my understanding of poverty and food insecurity. Before I volunteered at Filling in the Blanks, I had no idea just how many kids in the area were food insecure and it shocked me to see how it is a problem in almost every school.”
At the end of this month, the federal school meal waiver program that has been running since 2020 is expiring. This will cause many schools, camps, and community centers to scale back on providing meals to kids.
So at this time, our team is preparing to do more. Along with our wonderful board of directors, we have developed a strategic plan to expand significantly and feed thousands more kids in need over the next 24 months.
The most impactful way you can help your neighbors and support our expansion plan is to become a Filling in the Blanks monthly donor. Reliable, monthly contributions allow us to plan ahead and serve more kids in more areas of the state, every single weekend.
Fund Weekend Meals Every Month >
Simply click this link and select “Monthly” after choosing your dollar amount. It costs $40/month to fund all of a child’s weekend meals, every weekend. That very child could grow up to be somebody great, somebody who contributes to our society in amazing ways; especially if their belly is full while they’re learning, growing, and developing their unique world view.
Thank you for believing in this as much as we do. Together, we can end child hunger in Connecticut and serve as a model for the rest of the country.