LOS ANGELES, June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For most children, summer is a time of fun and excitement, but for 18 million children in communities across the country it means the end of access to the free or reduced-price meals that nourish them during the school year. For every six children receiving free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, five lose access to those meals as public schools close for the summer.
Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, hosted a special Put the Heat on Hunger volunteer event yesterday with celebrity friends Ashley Greene and Darby Stanchfield.
The event was held at one of Los Angeles Regional Food Bank's partner agencies, Para Los Niños Charter Elementary School. Los Angeles County, according to recent Feeding America Map the Meal Gap data, has 536,100 food-insecure children, more than any other county in the United States.
Greene, Stanchfield and other volunteers toured the school, served lunch and distributed fresh produce to 120 children at an on-site farmer's market. Los Angeles Regional Food Bank supplied the produce, which included apples, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes and plums.
"The end of the school year is a stressful time for many families across the country, and it should not be," said Diana Aviv, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America. "When children lose access to school meals, their families' grocery bills skyrocket and families are forced to make tough choices between food and other basic necessities."
Across the nation, the Feeding America network of food banks works to bridge this summer meal gap. Last year, 127 Feeding America food banks helped distribute 9.5 million meals to children at nearly 5,000 sites like the Para Los Niños Charter Elementary School.
"We must ensure that our children receive adequate nutrition and support throughout the summer months," said Aviv. "The Feeding America network feeds more children than any other hunger-relief organization in the county and we encourage everyone to partner with us to ensure all children have access to healthy meals regardless of the season."
Feeding America is teaming up with its Entertainment Council members and celebrity friends to host a series of Put the Heat on Hunger events across the country. The events are designed to raise awareness of the issue of child hunger and encourage the public to get involved.
To learn more about summer hunger and how you can Put the Heat on Hunger in your community, visit FeedingAmerica.org.
For more information, contact:
About Feeding America:
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Los Angeles Regional Food Bank:
Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has worked to mobilize resources in the community to alleviate hunger. With a vision that no one goes hungry in Los Angeles County, the Food Bank has distributed 1 billion pounds of food since its inception. It provides food to 320,000 clients monthly and in 2015 distributed 62 million pounds of food. 20 percent of the food distributed is fresh produce, and 80 percent is rated highly nutritious.
The Food Bank collects food from hundreds of resources, which it distributes through a network of 625 partner agencies throughout Los Angeles County. With the help of 27,000 volunteers annually, 97 percent of funds raised and in-kind donations go directly to programs.
About Para Los Niños (For the Children):
Founded on Skid Row in 1980, Para Los Niños is a nonprofit social services and education organization dedicated to the success and social wellbeing of L.A.'s children and families. With six early education centers and three charter schools serving some 2,000 low-income children (ages 6 months to 14 years), Para Los Niños places education at the core of its mission to break the cycle of poverty. The organization provides a comprehensive educational model that incorporates: high-quality education, family support & mental health services, parent engagement and community building opportunities. Para Los Niños serves 7,500 children, youth and their families throughout Los Angeles each year. For more information, please visit: www.paralosninos.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
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SOURCE Feeding America