SCHOOL’S OUT. NOW WHAT? KIDS, SUMMER AND COVID.
I began writing on the relationship of adequate nutrition to learning before the pandemic. As we head into the summer months, our families face some stark realities.
In Texas, the unemployment has climbed into the mid-teens, overcoming rates of the 2008 recession. 2.3 million claims have been filed since mid-March, overwhelming the system. Claimants wait for both a response and a check.
Our food support systems are working hard to meet the needs, but it is tough. The last report I saw had food bank demand up 70%. About a third of the need across the state is not being met. That’s a lot of families who can’t get help.-
Our amazing, high impact local agencies have had to cancel summer camps and programs in response to the virus. One agency we spoke with said they were offering virtual programs this summer. They target services to low income children and make a world of difference. No one has to remind these counselors of the difficulties of virtual programs to children in homes that often lack a computer and internet.
Those moments of fresh, enriching experiences will be held until next year. It is also a loss of exposure to other resources for the parents and other family members. We know the gap will widen between the “haves” and “have nots”.
So what do we do? Support your local agencies. Donate a book or puzzle. Can you be a reader or tutor? Be creative. Think about what you enjoy and how you can help. Now is the moment!