Warmer temperatures, longer days and a refreshing change of pace likely mean one thing: Summer is here. Many school-aged children gladly anticipate the relaxed, carefree days of summer.
But for the 22 million children who receive free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, the sunny days of summer may equate to hungry bellies. Families who rely on federally funded programs on school days often need to look elsewhere for nourishment during summer break.
Food shelves do their best to meet the needs of their community members in every season. In November and December food and monetary donations peak, making their job a little easier.
But by summer, those donations are long gone. Potential donors are distracted by summer sports and family vacations. Donations dwindle, just when the need can be the greatest.
A heart for hunger
“I am not a good fundraiser, but I am a good worker,” Thrivent Member Margaret Davis says.
Margaret, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is committed to helping families experiencing hunger in her community.
And work she does. With the help of Thrivent Action Teams, Margaret and a team of volunteers serve at the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, an organization dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty. In 2017, Margaret participated in a CROP Hunger Walk, an event designed to raise money to end hunger around the world. She collects donations for food drives and directs Thrivent Choice Dollars® to local food nonprofits.
“There is so much need in the world, and thousands of causes,” she says. “Even though I want to help all, I can't. So choosing a cause that is close to my heart is key.”
Unite to fight
Amid bike rides, pool parties and family get-togethers, carve out a little time for your family members, neighbors or church community to unite in the fight against hunger. Here are some ways to get working in your community:
- Fill the shelves. Consider turning an existing summer activity or event into an opportunity for good and organize a food drive.
- Grill and give. Host a barbecue and ask everyone to bring a bag of food items to donate.
- Christmas in July. The winter holidays are a popular time to donate to food shelves. Why not bring the holiday spirit to summer and help stock the shelves during July and August?
- Team spirit. Ask athletes and their family members to bring nonperishable food donations to sporting practices or games.
- Make a splash. Organize a beach or pool party and ask guests to contribute food or cash for your local pantry.
- At your service. Volunteer at a local food shelf. Check to see if there are kid-friendly service opportunities and get your whole family involved.
- Get squeezing. Work with neighborhood kids to set up a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to your local food shelf.
- Fill a bag, fill a tummy. Each time you go grocery shopping, grab a few extra items. Stop by your local food pantry a couple times this summer to drop off your donations.
- Give purchasing power. Make a monetary donation. Partnerships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations enable food pantries to purchase food at a lower cost.
Thrivent can help you help others
Lead a Thrivent Action Team. Thrivent members can apply to lead a Thrivent Action Team to help kids get the food they need. Contact your local food pantry to see what would be most helpful this summer and then pull together a group of friends and family for a fundraiser, food drive or other service activity.
Boost your impact! Give charitably. See if your local food shelf or soup kitchen is one of the thousands of organizations enrolled in the Thrivent Choice® program and give online, through our partnership with InFaith Foundation. Thrivent covers any related fees, so 100% of your personal donation goes directly to your chosen organization. Eligible Thrivent members also can recommend which enrolled organizations receive Thrivent charitable outreach funds through the Thrivent Choice program and nominate organizations not already enrolled in the program.
Not a member yet? Learn more about why Thrivent is different.