With over 2.5 million homeless children
in the United States each year, obtaining accessible and healthy foods is a daily struggle. While during the school year both breakfast and lunch are provided, and holidays, breaks, and even weekends leave children worried about when their next meal will be. But while many cities across the country, including Chicago
, have extended school lunch programs
into the summer months and can afford to feed hungry children year-round, there still remain many accessibility issues due to extraneous reasons such as lack of transportation, lack of knowledge about the program and parental time constrains. When looking at our specific demographic, children in homeless shelters in West Garfield Park, another unique issue arises. With this area’s per capita rate of shootings being nearly 20 times higher than in downtown Chicago
, children are often forced to stay at home for their own safety. To combat both the issues of healthy food accessibility and loneliness, Pineapple has started the “School’s Out Surprise Box” program. Our boxes will be hand-made by children in the North Shore Suburbs and delivered straight to the homeless shelters to fight accessibility issues. The box will include things such as healthy foods, safe and hands-on cooking activities, arts and crafts, and nutritional education pamphlets. All the supplies and delivery costs are covered by donations. More donations mean more children accounted for and more frequent drop-offs throughout the year.