Addressing the Health Care Needs of Houston’s Hungry Children

Harris County has the 2nd highest rate of child food insecurity in the nation. Every day in Houston, almost 90 thousand children are living in extreme poverty, with many uncertain of where they will get their next meal. Hunger and malnutrition have devastating short and long-term consequences for young children. Stunted development, loss of muscle mass and vulnerability to disease are just a few of those short-term effects. Over the long-term, hunger and poor nutrition lead to inferior academic performance and higher levels of anxiety, depression and behavioral problems.

Kids’ Meals mission is to end hunger among preschool-aged children by delivering free, healthy meals to the doorsteps of Houston’s hungriest children ages one through five.  Since July 21, 2006, Kids’ Meals has delivered more than 3.2 million meals to hungry children living in food-insecure homes. A mother of six says, “I am so grateful for the program, and thank the people who work hard for us – we really appreciate them being there for us because we don’t know what we would do without them.”

Kids’ Meals works to address hunger and food insecurity plaguing many children under the age of five who are at home during the day and don’t have access to healthy food, while their siblings are receiving a free meal at school. The organization ensures that these children have at least one nutritious meal each weekday, thus combating vital hunger and health issues in the Houston area. Every weekday, Kids’ Meals delivers an average of 2,500 healthy meals to the doorsteps of Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children. Kids’ Meals is, believe it or not, the ONLY home meal delivery program for poverty-stricken preschool-aged children in the nation

During the summer months, Kids’ Meals delivers to all of the siblings living in the household of the preschooler, ensuring that every child in the home has a reliable, healthy delivered meal each weekday. In 2015, Blue Cross and Blue Shields of Texas helped fund Kids’ Meals summer feeding program through a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant. The program delivered an average of 3,700 healthy meals per weekday. Throughout 2015, Kids’ Meals delivered over 631,000 healthy meals to families in need. In addition, BCBSTX made it possible for Kids’ Meals to educate families on the importance of healthy eating through the distribution of fun food fact handouts. Then in 2016, through the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant, Kids’ Meals expanded a critical need route and added two additional zip codes to the program. This has given Kids’ Meals the opportunity to work with various community organizations in the Southwest area to reach additional families in need.

If you’d like to volunteer for Kids’ Meals, donate, or learn more, visit www.kidsmealshouston.org.

You can also see a video of our support for this program in the Community Video Gallery on Connect.

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