Super Hero Day for Summer Meals

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by Willie Matis

There are only about 6 more days of Summer Meals for Kids, but that doesn’t mean that the kids are stopping their fun.

Perhaps you remember our buddy Ethan from our earlier videos. Well, he wanted to show something off the other day.

His super powers…

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Ethan showed up as his favorite superhero! Spiderman!

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Ethan, like all of our kids who utilize our Summer Meals for Kids, gain a great deal of confidence when spending time at our summer meals sites.

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The great thing I read after receiving these photos from Jacie our Staff Liaison was this… “Ethan dressed up like a super hero,  but the real super heroes are those who help support this program.”

We wanted to take today to thank all of you who support our Summer Meals for Kids program. You make it possible for children like Ethan to grow and learn even when school is out.

What would you like to learn about when it comes to Summer Meals for Kids? Share your questions below!

2 Ways to Feed a Child… Today!

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by Willie Matis

It doesn’t feel like our Summer Meals for Kids tour was that long ago, but now we only have 8 days left in the program (for most sites). That being said, there is still need, and more unfortunately, the need will be there next year.

Here are 2 ways you can feed a child in need of a summer meal TODAY!

1. Text FEEDING to 27722 to give $10 to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Reply with YES to confirm your donation.

Text-to-Give-Phone

$10.00 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 27722 to STOP. Text HELP to 27722 for HELP. Full Terms: mGive.org/TPrivacy Policy.

You-Can-Be-the-Difference2. Share this picture with your friends.

Click here to share on Facebook.

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With only 8 days left at most of our summer sites, it feels like our work may be close to a finish. But, as soon as one season ends, it is time to prepare for the next. Help us prepare today so that more kids will be fed… tomorrow.

My Experience Touring Summer Meals for Kids (Intern Elizabeth)

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by Intern Elizabeth

Eye-opening and Humbling

Two words I would use to describe my experience of touring the Summer Meals for Kids sites.  Before taking this tour, my understanding of the program was based solely on information gleaned from coworkers and literature.  However, I now have a deeper understanding of the program and realize the impacts are often greater than what is visible on the surface.

Organized and Efficient

The first stop on the site tour was in Madison, IN, where we were met by the site coordinator, Jacie. The job title “site coordinator” is really code for “extreme organizer, be ready-for-everything coordinator.”  Jacie and other site coordinators must ensure the locations receive enough food for each child, which is not easy considering there is no way to know the exact number of students who will show up.

Memorable and Heartbreaking

Ethan SelfieAlthough Madison has two sites, our tour took us to an apartment complex a few minutes away from the school, which acts as a distribution center for the food.  Before the bus had even stopped, there were several rambunctious boys waiting to eat.  Amidst the sound of crunching carrots and lively chatter, I was able to talk with several boys.  On the surface, they appeared confident with their funny stories and loud bravado. But if you watched and listened closely, their stories held a worry and hunger that children their age should not experience.  There was one boy, Ethan, who made the day one I will never forget.  With curly blonde hair and big blue eyes that could melt your heart, this little boy could almost be described as an angel.  While eating, he talked about his invisible friend and how much he loved making snow angels in the summer.  It broke my heart to know that Ethan depended on this meal to get through the day.  This sweet, innocent little child was ecstatic with carrots and a sandwich, foods I take for granted on a daily basis.

Education and Hope

After each stop on the site tour, I witnessed a different aspect of the program, but talking with the children in Madison made the biggest impact.  I was humbled knowing these children faced a hunger I have never known, and I learned that Summer Meals for Kids provides more than just meals to hungry children.  It provides stability in a life that faces uncertainty and comfort against the anxiety of eating a meal.  The next time you hear about Summer Meals, I hope you remember Ethan and the other children; I hope you see beyond the surface level of this excellent program.

I just wanted to remind you all that YOU CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE this summer.

MondayMotivation: Picking teams or picking meals

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by Harvey Bananas

It is mid-July, and the weather is supposed to be fantastic this week. Great weather for kids to get out, run around, play sandlot baseball, or maybe even some capture the flag.

You can be the difference…

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This is a picture I took last summer with these three kiddos.  They were awesome (even though they got a little aggressive when swinging me around).  You can be the difference this summer for so many children, simply by giving.

Some children are hoping they have an endless summer while others are counting down the days so that they can begin to get meals provided by schools. Help make a difference by giving a child a chance to live up these last few weeks.  Supporting the Summer Meals for Kids program can go a long way in a child’s life.

A Story We Hear Too Often

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by Willie Matis

An article written in the Washington Post that published on Tuesday was shared around the web a lot by hunger relief agencies yesterday.

Titled This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps, it tells a very powerful story of how quickly anyone can find themselves facing poverty and hunger.


A snippet from Darlena Cunha’s piece: Two weeks before my children were born, my future husband found himself staring at a pink slip. The days of unemployment turned into weeks, months, and, eventually, years.

Then my kids were born, six weeks early. They were just three pounds each at birth, barely the length of my shoe. We fed them through a little tube we attached to our pinky fingers because their mouths weren’t strong enough to suckle. We spent 10 days in the hospital waiting for them to increase in size. They never did. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my babies to put on weight. With their lives at risk, I switched from breast milk to formula, at about $15 a can. We went through dozens a week.

In just two months, we’d gone from making a combined $120,000 a year to making just $25,000 and leeching out funds to a mortgage we couldn’t afford. Our savings dwindled, then disappeared.


I really suggest reading the entire article.  Darlena’s honesty about coming from a place where it seemed “harder to fail than to succeed,” and then proclaiming the looks, the judgement, and the disgust on many people’s faces when she showed up in her husband’s Mercedes to pick up her food stamps.

Woman grabbing food

But it wasn’t a toy — it was paid off. My husband bought that car in full long before we met. Were we supposed to trade it in for a crappier car we’d have to make payments on? Only to have that less reliable car break down on us?

When talking with Tiffany, our on-site Food Pantry Coordinator, she said she sees this all too often. It’s families where a parent is working 3 jobs, a child who just went out on his own, or even a grandparent who had it made but now has to raise her grandchildren.  The food pantries and shelters we distribute to, see people like Darlena come through daily.  You can be the difference between this person having nowhere to turn and feeling a bit of dignity by being able to put food on the table.

One of the more powerful lines in the article was this, “We didn’t deserve to be poor, any more than we deserved to be rich. Poverty is a circumstance, not a value judgement.”

Read Darlena Cunha’s full piece here.

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