Brittany is a mother to five kids. When the schools shut down due to the coronavirus, she found herself in the full time roles of teacher and lunch lady to her children, all various ages from pre-school to high school. Brittany had a stay-at-home job lined up before the virus shut the state down, however, it was rescinded when the virus came. Although she lost the opportunity to help with their family finances, her husband can still work. But to help with the new cost that came when the school’s shutdown and having to feed all five children lunch, Brittany started coming to one of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s summer feeding sites at her children’s school.
This time at home has allowed her kids to learn how to make simple, quick meals with the foods that they get from the distribution site. “It’s really helped them learn how to be self-sustainable and independent,” Brittany says with hopes to return to the workforce soon.
This learning process has been a lot of fun for Brittany and her kids, despite their difficult position. She says it’s enjoyable to watch them learn what it’s like to cook. “Instead of asking ‘how long do I bake this,’ they [the kids] are able to look at the instructions… they’re figuring out the mechanics of cooking,” she says. The lunch foods that Brittany and her kids can get from the school’s distribution are meals that can be made for just one person and relatively quickly. This allows her four boys and one daughter to be able to make food for themselves and learn how to cook easy meals. And with their various likes and dislikes, this has made Brittany less stressed over what to serve over lunch.
Besides giving meals to the children, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank has stepped in to provide a box of produce and non-perishable items that the whole family can enjoy during this time. “I think it’s great. It’s kind of everything across the board. It’s a good variety.”
Brittany is grateful to the program, which has allowed her to adjust her budget to make ends meet during this time. “It’s helped me budget. Knowing, oh, those things such as milk and cereal and produce are there, so I can spend money on other necessities. It frees up a couple dollars elsewhere… you get a little more creative.”
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is working on alternative distribution methods to make sure children and their families have access to nutritious food throughout the summer through a grab and go distribution model at area schools. We cannot do this work alone. Your gift is the key to a hunger-free summer. CLICK HERE TO GIVE!