By Laura Ingrim
Did you know that Dallas ISD provides free breakfast and lunch to ALL their students? Since 2013, Dallas ISD has operated a program where all of their students have access to free meals, regardless of family income. This is an amazing benefit during the school year, but what about the summer?
Dallas ISD does offer free meals during the summer months at participating sites, but unfortunately, many kids are unable to take advantage of the summer meal program. Challenges like lack of transportation or parents working outside the home means that too many children are not able to visit the designated meal distributions sites. Wilkinson Center’s Stock Up for Summer campaign is here to help fill that gap.
Our Stock Up for Summer campaign centers on providing food and hygiene items for over 2,000 children this summer. We are working with corporate partners, foundations, churches, civic groups, and individuals to directly support local families. We collect and distribute kid-friendly foods, like peanut butter, jelly, canned pasta, and microwavable macaroni and cheese – meals children can make on their own while their parents are working. To encourage good hygiene, we provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers, baby wipes, and other products throughout the summer.
This year, we have added a continued learning component to Stock Up for Summer. Through a generous donation from Atmos Energy, we are providing 1,000 of our families a subscription to Vooks, an online library of storybooks. We are also providing information on healthy eating habits, recipes, and summer safety tips like how to stay hydrated during the hot summer months.
We recognize how important it is to create food programs with easy access. Our large, refrigerated Pantry2Go truck delivers food directly to families in monthly drive-through distributions, while our Food Pantry continues to be open 4 days a week for curbside pick-up. With the recent inflation and price increases, as well as supply chain challenges, families are relying on our Food Pantry more and more. But we are up for the challenge, and we hope you are too!
If you are ready to feed the children in our community, we invite you to support this year’s Stock Up for Summer campaign. Visit https://www.thewilkinsoncenter.org/stockup/ for more information on donating, volunteering, and shopping from our Amazon Wish List. Together, we can guide families from striving to thriving this summer!