With summer vacation starting for children in Cook County, playing in water parks or on swings is far from the minds of many children that depend on school lunches for nourishment. For that reason, the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) and the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) have joined forces to implement a Summer Food Service Program, for children living in HACC developments in Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, and Robbins. This program will combine nutritious food with summer activities, Monday through Friday, with lunch from 11:15 am – 12 pm and a mid-afternoon snack, from 1 pm – 1:30 pm, for children 18 years of age and younger.
HACC staff has been trained by CEDA on the planning, operation, monitoring and record keeping compliance of the Summer Food Service Program.
“The rising level of poverty in the suburbs has accelerated over the past several years”, says Richard Monocchio, the HACC’s Executive Director. According to Brookings Institute, the number of suburban poor grew by 64 percent between 2000 and 2011. Now, for the first time, a majority of Chicagoland’s poor population lives in the suburbs.
The kick-off was on Monday, June 10, 2013, and to date, close to 1,000 lunches and snacks have been provided to children at the Sunrise Homes located at 1301 Mason Court, in Chicago Heights, IL, the Richard Flowers Homes, located at 13900 Grace Street, in Robbins IL, and the Vera Yates Homes, at 1055 Berkeley in Ford Heights, IL.
The Summer Food Service Program will run through Friday, August 9, 2013, at all three of these HACC developments.
“It’s not enough just to provide housing. We have to make sure that kids have enough to eat all year round”, says Mr. Monocchio.