Temperatures nearing 90 degrees, kids playing in jungle gyms at parks where dozens more are lined up to receive today’s lunch- a chicken salad sandwich, fresh clementine, cucumber slices and ranch dip, and a cold carton of milk. This is summer for us here at Gourmet Gorilla. Our drivers are getting ready to start out on their summer routes, our dietitians have been busy creating nutrient packed, delicious summer meals, and our kitchen staff is getting geared up to providing millions of meals to kids throughout Cook County.
The anticipation of our summer feeding programs is here and we are excited by the impact we can make each day. During the school year, Gourmet Gorilla provides meals to early childhood programs, elementary and high schools, and after school programs. When school is out during the summer months, our operations don’t stop, we continue to provide summer meals throughout the area to local libraries, YMCAs, and community centers, hoping to bring much needed access of a healthy meal to children who typically rely on these meals at their schools throughout the academic year.
Nationally, 22 million children receive free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program, but in the summer months when school is out, only 3.9 million receive meals through the USDA summer food service program. That equates to only 1 out of 6 getting meals during summer break.* At Gourmet Gorilla, we are working to help narrow this gap by improving access to meal sites, raising awareness, and nourishing kids through these months with fresh, healthy, great-tasting meals.
Many of the kids we serve in the summer rely on them to keep them fed and we believe that helping them receive the proper nutrition will help put them on the path to success. Our goal is for our meals to be a way to teach them healthy habits now in order to build the groundwork for them to take care of themselves later.
If you’d like more information on where our meals are served, here’s a link to one our partners’, Greater Chicago Food Depository, that provides our meals at their Lunch Bus sites located throughout Cook County. https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/summer-lunch-bus/
*Food Action Research Center
This week's blog post is brought to you by Danielle Hrzic, Chief Business Development Officer, Co Founder