Connecticut has a reputation as a very affluent state.
But even here, according to Foodshare, an estimated half million people are "food insecure." that means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Foodshare is trying to help, by providing healthy meals for kids this summer, free of charge.
"The problem is, not enough parents know about the summer meals program."
Foodshare’s Sarah Santora says some 280,000 kids get free or reduced cost lunch in Connecticut schools, but only about 30,000 kids show up at summer meal sites once the school year ends.
She wants to get the word out. “There’s no paperwork to fill out, they just come to the site if they’re between zero and 18 years old, and they can get a healthy summer meal,” says Santora.
For the third straight year, the Bristol Public Library is serving as a site for Foodshare’s summer meals program, which, combined with the library’s own summer reading program, provides a powerful summer synergy.
The library’s Valerie Toner says, “we always have a good summer reading participation numbers, so we though that the summer meals would be a great addition, and would attract a lot of families.”
In fact, facilities all over the state are hosting recreational activities this summer, to attract families and children, so they will discover the summer meals program.
"We have baseball, basketball, track and field, and then we have a field day nutrition program," says Foodshare’s Madeline Appleton.
Toner says the Bristol library has served some 5,000 summer meals over the past three years. She remembers one father of three who brought his kids to Bristol Library every day last summer.
“He told me that by the end of the summer, they will have saved enough money that he could buy more school supplies for his kids.”