06/20/2013 05:34 pm ET

Capital Area Food Bank's 'Skip Lunch Feed a Bunch' Program Is Raising Money For Those At Risk For Hunger


By Kristen Farnam
Street Sense

It is Tuesday afternoon, about one o’clock, and you are headed for the closest sandwich shop, prepared to grab a quick lunch.

How many truly hungry people did you pass on the way?

Would you be willing to give up your sandwich to someone in dire need of a meal?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), approximately one of every six people living in the D.C. region does not have enough food. And that rate is dramatically increased when applied to children under the age of 18 living in the region: one in three is at risk for food insecurity.

As defined by the USDA, food insecurity is a “household-level economic and social condition of limited access to food.” It is often experienced as hunger, which is characterized as “an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity.”

From July 8 until July 19, teams will raise funds for the Capital Area Food Bank’s “Skip Lunch Feed a Bunch” program, a competitive fundraising event to continue providing meals to those at risk for hunger. On the last day, the top five teams raising over $500 will receive a prize.

The event is not only aimed at raising money for the D.C. area’s hungry men, women and children, but also aims to increase hunger awareness.

The minimum donation is $10. That is the average price of a local lunch, organizers say. But, they add, $10 is also enough to provide 30 meals to the hungry people who turn to the nonprofits that partner with the food bank to feed needy families and individuals throughout the region. For $15, 45 meals will be provided; for $20, 60 meals will be provided.

Donations may be made on an individual basis at any time, through the CAFB website, by text message or by check. For the 12-day period in July, teams can be created to raise funds.

According to Shamia Holloway, a Communications Manager at CAFB, the “Skip Lunch Feed a Bunch” event has raised $70,000 since its launch in 2005. At last year’s event there were about 30 fundraising groups. Despite these large numbers, Holloway said, “We are trying to grow it.”

Raising funds for the summer months is especially important because school is not in session and many families who rely on school meals for their children will have to turn to food banks and other programs to provide safe and healthy meals. Although there are many summer food service programs available, families are not always aware of them or do not know how to access them, and thus do not take advantage of them.

From its 100,000 square foot food storage facility in Northeast Washington, CAFB provides both perishable and nonperishable food items to more than 700 partner agencies.

“Skip Lunch Feed A Bunch” will help bolster funding for CAFB throughout the summer, allowing the organization to continue providing food to their partner agencies that strive to meet the need of the countless men, women and children at risk for hunger.

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