Millions of American children rely on school breakfasts and lunches, and when schools are closed for the summer, they are at greater risk of going hungry. Without proper nutrition children not only have difficulty concentrating in the classroom, but their cognitive and physical development is affected as well. In order to fill the gap left by school cafeterias, Sodexo Foundation partners with local hunger relief organizations to provide summer meals through the Feeding Our Future program.
Feeding Our Future was created in 1997 to donate the “food and labor necessary to provide summer lunches to children who would otherwise go hungry.” Sodexo employees and local organizations work together to create and deliver healthy meals to children at designated feeding sites. “Many elementary students rely on free or reduced priced programs for lunch and when school is out for the summer, too many students have little access to dependable meals,” said Robert A. Stern, President, Sodexo Foundation. By securing the food resources, funds, and volunteer power, Feeding Our Future has served over 3 million meals to children in 24 cities across the country.
The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) has been working with Feeding Our Future since 2005 and has served over 150,000 summer meals to children in the Chicago area. This summer they will be supported by both Sodexo Foundation and Unilever Food Solutions to create 22,000 meals.
But quantity isn’t CKNU’s only goal; this year they are purposefully working to create quality meals packed with the nutrition children need to grow and develop. “As part of our Feeding Our Future Program, Sodexo will help CKP give local kids nutritious food for the summer months,” Stern said.
According to CKNU coordinator Katie Darin, Sodexo Foundation’s donation will allow them to focus on “bringing local, fresh options to our clients this year,” including apples, bananas, and carrots. CKNU will also be working with a local bakery to procure whole grain bread. Darin also plans to work with local grocery stores and farmers markets to get all of the products CKNU needs.
With a focus on fresh and healthy food, CKNU, Sodexo Foundation, and Unilever will provide meals all summer long that will help bridge the gap between the spring and fall semester and allow children to continue to grow, learn, and achieve.