The Hidden Costs of Summer

The Hidden Costs of Summer for Families Facing Food Insecurity

A mother and her son attending the first Summer Breakfast and Lunch Distribution of 2024.

Summer is often celebrated as a season of relaxation and fun, but for many families facing food insecurity, it brings a series of financial challenges that can be overwhelming. The absence of school meals, increased utility bills, childcare costs, and potential disaster expenses all contribute to a heavy financial burden. At Target Hunger, we understand these struggles and are committed to helping our community through initiatives like our Summer Breakfast & Lunch Program presented by ExxonMobil.

Understanding the Summer Financial Burden

For families already struggling to make ends meet, summer can be a particularly difficult time. Several factors contribute to this increased financial strain:

Higher Electricity Bills:

As temperatures soar, so do electricity bills. Keeping a home cool becomes essential, especially for families with young children, elderly members, or those with health conditions. The cost of running AC units can significantly increase household expenses, making it harder for families to allocate funds for other necessities.

Replacing School Meals:

During the school year, many children from low-income families rely on free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch programs. When school is out, parents must find ways to replace these meals, adding an extra financial burden. The cost of providing additional meals at home can strain already tight budgets, leading to difficult choices between food and other essential expenses.

Childcare for Working Parents:

For working parents, summer presents the challenge of finding affordable childcare. Without the structure of the school day, parents must arrange for care or supervision of their children, which can be expensive.

Potential Disaster Expenses:

Summer also brings the risk of natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and extreme heat waves in Houston. These events can result in unexpected expenses for repairs, temporary housing, and replacing lost or damaged belongings. Families living paycheck to paycheck often do not have the savings to cover these emergency costs, exacerbating their financial insecurity.

Target Hunger’s Summer Breakfast & Lunch Program

Some of the items families received at our first Summer Breakfast & Lunch Distribution.

We are acutely aware of the additional pressures summer places on families facing food insecurity. To help alleviate some of these burdens, we have our Summer Breakfast & Lunch Program. This initiative is designed to support families by providing essential food items during the summer months.

Throughout June and July, Target Hunger will offer three distributions of kid-friendly breakfast and lunch foods. This Program aims to fill the gap left by the absence of school meals, ensuring that children have access to nutritious food even when school is out. The distributions will include items such as cereal, milk, fruit, fixings to make sandwiches, and snacks, which are easy for children to prepare and enjoy.

By reducing the stress and financial burden of providing additional meals, our Summer Breakfast & Lunch Program helps parents focus on other critical needs. Ensuring that children receive proper nutrition during the summer supports their overall health and well-being, preparing them to return to school ready to learn and thrive.

As we continue to support families facing food insecurity, we invite you to join us in this effort. Whether through donations, volunteering, or spreading the word about our programs, every bit of support helps us make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Together, we can ensure that all children have the nutritious food they need to enjoy their summer and beyond.

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