At the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, they see the summer slump hit on a number of fronts. The warm weather typically brings fewer donations and more families in need, especially with kids out of school and without free and reduced meals.
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank CEO Larry Zippin tells NBC29 that one in four people needing food from their bins and shelves is a child. On top of that, the overall need for food has doubled over the past five years, reaching about 120,000 people monthly across the service area.
There are programs available to help in these times of need. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs sites where hungry kids can get nutritious meals when they don't have access to food at school. The number of those facilities in and around Charlottesville has doubled from three spots last year to six this summer. Zippin says there are no specific qualifications or income requirements for kids to get meals at these sites, but sometimes even those efforts aren't enough.
"It's a fraction of the need," Zippin said. "More sites are needed, more food is needed, because there are hungry children and it's sort of outrageous, it is outrageous for there to be hungry people in any community, but in particular, a community such as Charlottesville."
Zippin says there are only about three million children nationwide taking advantage of these healthy food sites when statistics show about 20 million kids are "food insecure".
If you're interested in donating food or money to the food bank, click here to find out more. You can also get more details on the healthy food sites for children by clicking here.
Dannika Lewis joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in June 2010. She started her ventures in broadcast news at Elon University where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story