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Hunger takes no summer vacation!

Even well fed children are apt to experience some “summer slide” in learning, but poor nutrition makes this much worse.

To the editor:

Summer hunger is real, and its effect is felt by children and their families long after summer ends. Research shows that food insecurity in the summer can lead to learning issues in the fall when school reopens, as well as the physical and mental health issues that are associated with food insecurity year round.

Even well fed children are apt to experience some “summer slide” in learning, but poor nutrition makes this much worse. As parents struggle to stretch tight budgets without school meals that many depend on during the rest of the year, the whole family experiences extra stress, and that often leads to elevated rates of depression and anxiety. The Pantry is seeing an increase of young families needing help, and we know that once schools close for the summer, we will see more.

It is not a pretty picture, and we all ask ourselves, “What can we do?”

At The People’s Pantry, what we do is stock our shelves with kid-friendly, protein-rich lunch foods such as peanut butter and canned tuna, and offer lots of fresh, local produce and healthy proteins such as eggs, milk, cheese, and meat. In May 2024, we served 1,672 individuals, most of whom visited the Pantry weekly, for a total of just under 5,000 visits.

But we can’t do this alone. We need your support. Please consider making a special donation to The People’s Pantry or another local agency fighting food insecurity so that we can continue our much-needed work.

Beth Moser
President of the The People’s Pantry
Great Barrington

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