“I LOVE the carrots!” Eliza, 8, squeals with delight as she opens her bagged lunch at Learning & Lunches, one of Food Lifeline’s partner meal sites near her home in Anacortes.
Along with baby carrots, Eliza’s lunch includes a sandwich, dried fruit, oranges and sugar snap peas. It’s just the kind of balanced meal her mom, Erin, would fix her if she could.
But like too many parents across Western Washington, her budget just doesn’t have much flexibility. When we spoke with Erin, she told us she cares for Eliza’s little sister, Annalise, 3, full-time while Eliza and her younger sister, Josiah, 6, are in school. She’s glad Eliza and Josiah are able to eat free school meals — and she’s especially grateful for Learning & Lunches, which provides them with healthy summer food until classes start back in the fall.
When you ensure children like Erin’s are able to eat nutritious lunches, you’re giving our community the hope of a brighter future. Even short periods of time without enough food can have long-term effects on kids’ health and development. Hunger makes it harder for children to concentrate, increases behavioral issues and can cause a greater risk of illness.
You don’t just give boys and girls access to consistent nutrition — you help provide nutrient-rich items, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Erin was thrilled to see the quality of the food in her girls’ lunch bags when they first visited Learning & Lunches. Eliza loves healthy stuff like apples, broccoli and cauliflower, and it means a lot to Erin to have help providing her kids with the nutritious foods they love.
“It’s really nice that you’re making sure that the littlest ones don’t get overlooked,” Erin says as she reflects on your generosity.
Your partnership with Food Lifeline truly makes a difference for children like Eliza, Josiah and Annalise. With the help of friends like you, the girls will start school this fall ready to learn.
Thank you for sharing what you have with children and families in need!