CLEARWATER – The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County will launch a summer feeding program to provide weekend meals for “food-insecure” children across Pinellas County, starting June 20.
A recent study by Feeding America found that more than 20 percent of U.S. children are “food-insecure,” meaning they have insufficient access to nutritionally adequate food. In Pinellas County, that number rises to nearly 24 percent. During the school year, approximately 45,000 students in Pinellas County are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
JWB has partnered with Pinellas County Schools Food Services to distribute 6,000 meals on Thursdays and Fridays at nine of the “highest needs” Summer Bridge elementary schools: Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Melrose, New Heights, High Point, Belleair, Sandy Lane and Tarpon Springs.
In addition, distribution of meals will be coordinated through the Public Defenders's office of the 6th Judicial Circuit at the Pinellas County Housing Authority’s Rainbow Village in Largo. Locations were chosen as they are located within the five geographical areas of need as identified by the Pinellas County Government and JWB via the Economic Impact of Poverty Study.
JWB has committed $103,000 to the Summer Feeding Program, to ensure that more than 35,000 weekend meals can be distributed to food-insecure children across the County over the summer. The meals, provided by GA Food Services Inc., cost approximately $3 each. They are pre-packaged with a variety of shelf-sustainable foods, such as a juice box, milk, apple sauce, crackers and an easy-open protein option such as chili, beef stew or spaghetti and meatballs.