I was so thankful when TheMotherhood.com reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in learning from Michele Borba and the Walmart Foundation about the “summer slide”. That time of the year when kids eat less nutritional food and aren’t as active. I also knew that by agreeing to work with them I’d want to share about my own experiences.
As a single mom who worked part time in retail, I know what it’s like to be worried about where your next meal might come from. We had one time where we hadn’t had meat in several days and I wasn’t sure when we’d have it again. My best friend brought some ground beef over to us. I was so very thankful. My boys have been on the free/reduced food program at school which means they get breakfast and lunch!
Last spring for the first time, we were sent home information about a lunch program during the summer. I wasn’t quite sure how it worked and at the time, pride got in the way and we ended up not using it. I would have, if it came down to it. I’d never let my boys go hungry. Good nutrition is vital to their growth and mental power.
Walmart is kicking off the summer to make sure kids still eat healthy this summer. So many low income children go hungry because they don’t have access to the free lunches in the summer like they do during the school year. And if they’re going hungry, that means they’re missing out on much needed food like fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole-grain foods!
I mean, sure, that can happen in any home during the summer, but the things is, these children, these families, don’t have access to this healthy food. Have you seen the price of fruit lately? Everything is going up in price which means less that people can afford.
Walmart will be giving $14M in grants to 5 nonprofits to help provide 1.7M children and families in need! They’ll receive free meals and nutritional education. Thankfully this all part of the Walmart Foundations $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger in America.
I think it was 2012 when Walmart would come into our little town, bring a full size truck into a church parking lot and volunteers would pass out food to families that showed up. They never turned anyone away. I will admit to having gone 2-3 times and they filled the gap! Employees from the store, the church and the neighborhood would organize the food and distribute it as each person went by with their basket. Such a blessing, I can’t even tell you.
I had a good friend who worked at Walmart and she only vaguely knew about the program. She, at the time, had terminal cancer. I brought her daughter one time with me because I knew times were tough for them as well, but as soon as the daughter realized Walmart was supplying everything and she knew people from her mom’s work, she asked to go sit in my car and didn’t want anything. Being in need can be embarrassing and humbling.
So, what are some ways you can be proactive in YOUR own child’s eating habits this summer and keeping them physically and mentally active? Here are a few ideas:
- Help them create a grocery list for the family
- Get them into the kitchen having them help prepare meals
- Bring them to farmer’s market and let them pick out items
- Start your own vegetable garden and let the kids plant their own choices
- Make meal time a time where the whole family unplugs
- Find reading programs at the library
- Join activities at the community center
- Go on family bike rides
- At meal time have a routine like sharing the best part of everyone’s day, telling someone at the table something you love about them, answer a special ‘question of the day’, or have a family devotion
- Have your child try a new food before any of the other meal, but don’t force them. Make it a relaxed situation
There are numerous ways to be involved in keeping kids healthy and active during the summer! We just need to make sure we, as parents, put the effort in to get them on their way and help them (and ourselves) to stay the course! What could be better than happy, healthy children?
*This is a sponsored post from TheMotherhood and their partnership with the Walmart Foundation. The opinions are my own.