It was United Way of Greater Mercer County’s fourth year hosting Strike Out Hunger! This year’s meal packing and team building event took place at CURE Insurance Arena bringing together individuals from the community, corporations and nonprofits to create awareness around the issue of food insecurity in our region during the summer months. Participants packaged 180,288 servings of pasta! The event is hosted in partnership with Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, and meals are distributed to food pantries county wide.
Why the summer? Hunger is a year-round issue but becomes more prevalent during the summer months when children no longer have access to free and reduced school lunches, therefore putting a strain on a family’s already-stretched budget. In Mercer County 20,711 students receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch every day in school (9,900 in the City of Trenton). On an average day in July only 1,800 students actually receive free summer meals. The summer for most children means a break from classes. Unfortunately for many children it means dealing with the stress and insecurity of not knowing how and when they will receive their next meal.
This event is meant to highlight the 12,300+ food insecure children in Mercer County. The definition of food insecure is lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.