No. Maybe that’s why June is National Hunger Awareness Month.
But, at The Junior Leagues, we believe that hunger – and its companion, childhood obesity – is a year-round concern.
Childhood nutrition has been an important focus for The Junior Leagues for decades, going back to the pioneering work done by the Junior League of Brooklyn in successfully petitioning the New York City Board of Education to provide free lunches in schools in the early 20th Century, which became the model for the National School Lunch Program.
But the start of summer – a welcome event for many kids – is also a problem for many others. At school, needy children receive free breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. Once the school year comes to an end, however, the same children are often deprived of that access to healthy food. Many will find themselves hungry as a result.
The Junior Leagues, often in partnership with local agencies, have been helping to address the problem faced by families who are living in food-insecure households year-round. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this status affects 49 million families.
Here are a few examples of what individual Leagues are doing to address the growing problem of hunger and food insecurity.
- The Junior League of Portland, ME donated more than 1,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry during its most critical months.
- The Junior League of Greater Elmira-Corning holds its annual Hunger Challenge in September. The event challenges other local service and volunteer organizations to assemble teams that compete against a Junior League team in repacking food for distribution to at-risk families.
- The Junior League of Bronxville and its Backpack Buddies program provides backpacks filled with non‐perishable food to children in Yonkers, NY who are living in food-insecure households.
- The Junior League of Greater Orlando holds its annual Harvest Hustle 5K Walk in November. Last year’s event provided Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with 1,630 pounds of non-perishable food to feed more than a thousand hungry people in Orlando.