2020 Campaign Co-chairs: Terri Vitale and Tommy Bernstein
In 2020, the Campaign Against Summer Hunger would have returned for its 7th year from April 1st until May 15th, but due to COVID-19, the campaign and summer programs were accelerated. With schools closed, the food bank started feeding children in March instead of June.
In Sarasota County, nearly 50% of children participate in the free and reduced meal programs at school; and in DeSoto County, 100% of students rely on these meals during the school year. When you include younger siblings, who are not yet in the school system this typically equates to 40,000 children at risk of hunger when schools break out for the summer.
School closures, changes in work schedules, and the need for social isolation layered extra burdens on our neighbors. Many children lost access to school meals they depend on and families are still struggling with lost wages.
Over the last few years, All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger has become our community’s strongest line of defense against child hunger. This year, summer food programs and partnerships were mobilized three months early and the food bank has prepared for a longer investment in meeting in our community’s needs thanks to the support we received.