When school lets out for the summer, some kids think about going to summer camp, playing endless video games and eating ice cream at the pool. But for many children in the Greenville community, being on summer break means fighting a battle with hunger. Childhood hunger affects 1 in every 6 children in America, with summer meal initiatives only reaching 15% of those children affected.
During the school year, 22 million children rely on school breakfasts and 11.2 million children rely on after-school meal programs. In the summer, school cafeterias shut down and children lose access to their daily source of nutrition.
In hopes of impacting the children suffering in our own backyard, Greenville Triumph SC partnered with Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services (FANS). The summer nutrition initiative provided free meals and snacks to many children who might have otherwise gone hungry.
What did the Triumph Over Hunger program look like in action?
The Triumph staff and players visited different under-served areas throughout the community. FANS food trucks supplied meals and snacks to the neighborhood and kids received Triumph water bottles and sack-lunches. Afterwards, kids took to the field for small-sided soccer against the pros.
Megan Schwarze, a familiar face for many children fighting against hunger, said the program was very special to her. "We just love these kids so much. So we wanted to make sure they had lunch every day and fun activities during the summer. They were always so thankful and happy to see us." Schwarze is a Greenville County School psychologist and organizer of the summer program "Meet Me at the Playground", which provides playground activities for children during the summer months.
Triumph Over Hunger acts as a dual-initiative program to fight against childhood hunger and promote an active lifestyle within the community. At the core of Greenville Triumph SC is a mission to serve and unite the local community through the beautiful game of soccer. Together, we can!