WASHINGTON, D.C. (KGET) — According to Feeding America, 23.9 percent of children in Kern County are food insecure. This hunger has only grown during the pandemic.
“In 2018, we distributed about 13 million pounds of food. In 2019, we distributed about 23 million pounds of food,” said James Burger, CAPK Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator. “And this past year in 2020, we’ve distributed 33 million pounds of food.”
According to the Washington based non-profit No Kid Hungry, summer is one of the hungriest times in the nation. U.S Department of Agriculture food supplements like summer food service programs help offset this need for school-aged kids in Kern County.
“This nation has some terrific child nutrition programs, including the school meals program and summer meals. And yet, a lot of children have difficulty accessing those programs,” said Kathy Saile, California director of No Kid Hungry.
In Kern County, multiple summer meals programs will be ending in late July. This includes the Kern County Library’s program as well as the Kern High School District’s program.
But there are still options for food benefits through programs like SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program. According to Saile, SNAP benefits will provide easier access to groceries for parents and kids.
“They’re not so regulated around the exact time a meal is served that the families can pick up a box of groceries and food at the beginning of the week,” said Saile.
These additional benefits have been extended to the end of the summer.
“I think that will make a huge difference and help with some of that gap with the tie-off between a summer program and school starting,” said Saile.
To check eligibility for SNAP benefits visit the C4Yourself website.