New program helps 100 students get free meals in Prince George's County this summer
ABC7 August 8, 2018
LANDOVER, Md. (ABC7) — A new program is helping 100 students in Prince George’s County get free and healthy meals this summer.
Sometimes there’s no other option than to go hungry for students in the summertime. When school is out, the free or low-cost meals aren’t provided.
This year, SHARE Food Network created the Summer Student Program that helps fill the food gap for students at 10 Prince George’s County schools.
At the SHARE warehouse in Landover, an assembly line of volunteers packed up potatoes, plums and bags of carrots.
“I need a bag of plums,” one person called.
They group work so quickly; the fresh fruit and veggies were ready to go in just minutes. They then turned their attention to pounds of frozen chicken, shrimp and ground turkey.
“I think it’s important that neighbors help neighbors. And I think it’s important that people remember that good is being done in the world and this is just one little piece,” said SHARE director Jaynee Acevedo.
For 100 kids at 10 schools this “one little piece” is the difference between eating dinner or going to bed hungry.
“I’m fortunate to have food regardless of whether I’m at home or away. But it makes me feel ashamed that some people aren’t able to have that luxury,” said 16-year-old volunteer Caitlyn Ettienne.
SHARE is a social enterprise of Catholic Charities. It makes sure to keep the identities of the children they help confidential because it’s hard for families.
Volunteer Keira Wallace understands why.
“They might be embarrassed to tell somebody else that they’re hungry,” the 13-year-old explained.
Volunteers and staff don’t know names but they see the impact the fresh and frozen food is making.
Jacqueline Bonhomme donates her time to drive packages of food to three schools. She said she was touched one day as a man got a box of food for his 7-year-old.
“He was in tears because he said he really needed that and it was a time of the month he just didn’t have anything to feed his son and this was going to really help,” she said.
A weekly food can take pressure off parents until school starts again.
“I can imagine that if you have no options, I’m not sure what else you can do if you see your child that’s hungry,” said Bonhomme.
The food varies from week to week but SHARE Food Network focuses on kid friendly fruit and healthy meat. The program started in June lasts until the end of August.