For most kids, summer equals vacations, fun and a break from school. But for children in low-income communities like East Palo Alto, Calif. – many of whom rely on their school’s lunch programs for food – it means being hungry.
According to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital pediatrician Lisa Chamberlain, MD, about one in three families she sees at the Ravenswood Family Health Center screens positive for what’s called food insecurity, defined as being constantly stressed about having the money to buy food. An article on KQED’s website discusses how physicians like Chamberlain are providing assistance for families facing food insecurity and hunger, and it includes the story of one of her Ravenswood patients:
Another family brought in a 5-year-old to see her for a routine exam. When the mother confided that they were struggling to make ends meet, Chamberlain referred them to local nonprofits and handed out farmers market vouchers. A week later they returned, but not for any medical reason. They wanted more vouchers.
“Her children had not had fresh fruit and vegetables in such a long time that they just wolfed them down,” Chamberlain said.
The article also discusses Chamberlain’s efforts in highlighting the problem and in organizing a summer feeding effort in East Palo Alto. As of July 6, 5,500 meals had been distributed through the program.