LIHU‘E — Thirteen schools and nonprofits on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, and Hawai‘i Island received more than $225,000 to provide summer meals and snacks for children, filling an important need for children who typically rely on meals from public schools.
The funding was provided by the Stupski Foundation and Hawai‘i Community Foundation and administered by Hawai‘i Afterschool Alliance and Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network.
“Many children struggle with hunger during the summer, when school meals are not provided,” said Deborah Zysman, executive director of Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network. “We’re grateful to the Stupski Foundation and Hawai‘i Community Foundation for helping fill in this critical gap, and our partners at Hawai‘i Afterschool Alliance for bringing together this network of summer food programs.”
The organizations receiving funds to provide meals or snacks at their summer programs are After-School All-Stars Hawai‘i, Boys and Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island, Hawai‘i Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, Honowai Elementary School, Island of Hawai‘i YMCA, Kaleiopu‘u Elementary School, Kanu o ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kino‘ole Baptist Church, University of Hawai‘i-Manoa Thompson School of Social Work &Public Health, Ulu A‘e Learning Center and Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative.
“Having summer meals means our youths are fed and able to have fun and learn throughout the day without being worried of being hungry,” said Claudia “Lala” Fernandez, director of operations of Boys &Girls Club of Hawai‘i.
“The meals allow us to support the families so they do not have a cost burden on them, when over 75% of our families are from low-income and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. These meals bring relief to the youths and families we serve,” she said.
Although the meals at these summer programs are only for the programs’ participants, free meals open to the public are available at 82 public schools across the state for those 18 and younger.
“All of these organizations and schools receiving funding are thrilled to see smiles on the kids’ and youths’ faces when providing nutritious meals and snacks every day,” said Paula Adams, executive director of the Hawai’i Afterschool Alliance. “We thank the Stupski Foundation and HCF for making this happen.”
The Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network is a nonprofit creating a unified voice for Hawai‘i’s children. Its grassroots movement strives to ensure that all keiki are safe, healthy and ready to learn. For more information, visit hawaii-can.org.
The Hawai‘i Afterschool Alliance is a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to supporting and advancing sustainable, quality after school, summer learning and community schools that result in improved academic, social, emotional and physical outcomes for children and families in Hawai‘i. Learn more at hawaiiafterschoolalliance.org.
Source: The Garden Island