Feed the Children Well
I was driving down Shady Grove Road towards Manna and noticed on the sidewalk ahead a father and daughter taking a stroll. Such a sweet moment, I thought to myself. I love seeing a parent take time out of their day to take a walk with their child. The daughter, it appeared, was pushing a stroller too tall for her and it made me smile aloud.
As I approached the pair, I could see the back of their heads more clearly; that curly brown mane actually belonged to the man’s toddler son. The moment I considered the doll stroller I realized it wasn’t a stroller at all, but a blue utility cart. A cart much like the ones some of Manna’s clients bring for their monthly food pickup. Oh, I realized …they aren’t out to take a walk at all. They’re walking to Manna because they need food to eat.
Summer may be the time there seem to be children everywhere: at the pool, at the store, the library, the park. And it’s this sight at Manna—teenagers standing in line with parents; a second grader entertaining his little brother—that serves as that heartbreaking reminder: hunger does not take a summer vacation. Consider parents who rely on school breakfast and lunches to nourish their children during the day. Despite Montgomery County Public School’s summer feeding sites, there are still one to two additional meals families must stretch while the kids are out of school.
That is why Manna makes the Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks program weekend bags available to schools that provide summer programming to students from June-August. This summer we will be providing food to approximately 700 students in 21 MCPS elementary schools. Additionally, Manna is helping to get the word out about the Montgomery County Public Schools Summer Lunch Program. Children under the age of 18 can simply walk-in to any of the locations Monday through Friday to receive a free lunch.
Robert Brault said, “Why explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” For kids to best grow, heal, learn, discover, and imagine, they need to eat well. This is a crucial time of year to donate to Manna Food Center, whether food or funds. Since my first day at Manna, I find it surprisingly uncommon to have kids walk into our lobby donating their lemonade stand to feed their neighbors. It is a great time to get the family—or neighborhood—involved in a food drive.
We’re not simply looking to fill boxes with cans, we’re trying to help our community eat in a way that supports kids, seniors, and those living with diabetes and other chronic health concerns. Check out Manna’s Healthy Food Wishlist and come visit us soon.