As summer begins and school lunches end, one in four kids in Vermont are at risk of hunger

girl on swing

With schools letting out and summer break beginning, kids throughout the state are preparing to spend their days playing in the sun, swimming in lakes, and packing as much fun into the long, sunny days as possible. But for 33,900 children in Vermont, summer also brings worry about where their next meal will come from. Nationally, more than 22 million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program during the school year. But when school is out, their families must find a way to stretch their budgets to afford those missing meals.

Hunger deprives kids of more than just food. It limits their ability to reach their full potential. On empty stomachs, kids don’t have the energy to focus, learn and grow. At the Vermont Foodbank, we’re committed to ensuring that kids have access to the food they need year round, because summer should be fun and enriching for everyone.

In fact, we envision everyone in Vermont having enough food to eat every day, being healthy, and taking action to end hunger and poverty. That happens through the Vermont Foodbank’s gleaning program where volunteers are busy in the farm fields harvesting fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, and instead ensuring they make it onto the plates of Vermonters who could not otherwise afford them. Additionally the Vermont Foodbank’s VeggieVanGo program distributes fresh produce to families with children at many local schools and hospitals during the summer months and throughout the year.

This work would not be possible without your generous support. So we are thrilled to announce that we are teaming up with Hunger Mountain Co-op to make sure all Vermonters have the food they need to thrive.

Last December, the Co-op community (over 9,000 member-owners, 160 employees, and 500+ Vermont vendors) helped raise over 800 pounds of food and $5,000 for the Vermont Foodbank, along with donating over $20,000 worth of grocery bags filled with healthy pantry staples to area schools and local organizations.

This summer, they’re helping raise funds to fight hunger at the register. When you check out, you can choose to “give change” by rounding up your total to the nearest dollar. Now through July 1, your change will benefit Vermont Foodbank, where every $3 equals five meals for a neighbor in need.

The Hunger Mountain Co-op is also helping ensure all our neighbors have access to healthy, quality food by offering a 10% discount to co-op member-owners currently enrolled in 3SquaresVT, the WIC program, or receiving supplemental security income (SSI). Anyone interested in learning more should visit or stop by the Co-op’s customer service desk.

Thank you to our wonderful community members and partner organizations like the Hunger Mountain Co-op for helping make sure all Vermont children have the food they need this summer.