When the clock runs down on the final moments of class on the last day of school, our hope is that kids spill triumphantly out the doors in happy anticipation of a two-month break from homework and the confines of desks and stuffy classrooms.

What many of us don’t realize is that the end of the school year separates thousands of children from the school-based nutrition programs they rely on throughout the school year. Those breakfast, lunch and after-school programs often represent the best meals they receive.

Childhood hunger is a far bigger issue than most people realize, says Chris Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada.

Of the 1.1 million visits made to a food bank each month in Canada, 35 per cent of those are by children, a troubling figure given kids represent just 20 per cent of the population.

While we might think to donate to a food bank around Christmas or Thanksgiving to ensure families have enough food to enjoy these special annual meals, Hatch says people tend to “overlook the fact that so many children are requiring food from a food program at school and when school comes to an end, those programs dry up.”

Read full article by Brandie Weikle at the Toronto Starhere.