Skip to main content

A Call to Action: Bridging the Summer Gap

Families living in low-income struggle to make ends meet, and often cannot afford to provide some of the basics – including food and school supplies.

Supporting kids with healthy food and good books during the summer is incredibly important, especially when school is out, and all the regular school programs are closed. This break can sometimes mean kids miss out on the learning and nutrition they usually get during the school year. By making sure they have access to nutritious meals and fun reading materials, we can help them stay on track and even thrive during the summer months.

Why Healthy Food Matters

Many kids rely on school meal programs for a big part of their daily nutrition. When summer comes and schools close, this steady source of healthy food can disappear, leaving some families struggling to provide balanced meals.

Good nutrition isn’t just about staying full—it’s about giving kids the energy they need to play, learn, and grow. Healthy food is like fuel for the brain and body. When kids eat well, they feel better and are more ready to learn and explore. Programs like United Way’s Summer Eats for Kids can really make a difference. These programs help ease the financial strain on families, ensuring that no child goes hungry when school is out.

Why Books and Reading Are Essential

Alongside healthy food, having access to books and the chance to read at home during the summer is key to keeping kids’ minds sharp. Reading is a core skill that helps with all sorts of learning. When kids have books they enjoy, they’re more likely to read for fun, which boosts their reading skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Did you know that kids who are proficient in reading in grade 3 are more likely to graduate from high school? Reading during the summer helps prevent the “summer slide,” where kids might lose some of what they’ve learned during the school year.

Reading together as a family can be a wonderful bonding activity. It gives parents and caregivers a chance to share stories, discuss ideas, and encourage a love of learning. Having a variety of books at home, suited to different interests and reading levels, makes it more likely that every child will find something they love, encouraging a lifelong reading habit.

The Combined Power of Healthy Food and Books

When kids have both healthy food and great books during the summer, it’s like giving them a supercharged boost. They’re physically nourished and mentally engaged, ready to take on new challenges and return to school in the fall with confidence. Programs that focus on providing these essentials can be game changers, especially in neighbourhoods where resources might be limited.
Investing in kids’ nutrition and education during the summer is an investment in their future. It helps level the playing field, giving all kids a fair chance to succeed. By recognizing the importance of supporting children during these crucial months, we can ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive, no matter their background.

The Extra Boost: Backpacks and School Supplies

Helping kids from low-income families with backpacks and school supplies for the start of the school year is a fantastic way to make a big difference. Having the right tools can really boost their confidence and get them excited about learning. Picture a child starting school with a new backpack filled with fresh notebooks, pencils, and colorful supplies—it’s life changing!
For many families, buying school supplies can be challenging. Programs like United Way’s Backpacks for Success help ensure kids have what they need to succeed. A well-stocked backpack means kids can dive right into their schoolwork without any worries.

Backpacks for Success does more than just give out supplies—it helps make sure every child feels prepared and included. By reducing the financial stress on families and ensuring kids have the necessary tools, we create a more equitable and supportive learning environment. When kids have what they need from day one, they can focus on learning, participating, and enjoying school.

Give Now

When you donate to United Way summer programs, your gift goes beyond providing food, books and school supplies; it’s about nurturing hope. Your generosity will ripple through the lives of the children and their families, creating lasting positive impact that extends far beyond the summer.

To donate or learn more about Summer Eats and Backpacks for Success visit:

Last updated on June 11, 2024

Share this article: