Hunger Doesn’t Take Summer Vacation
Shanna can best be described as motivated, positive and a hard worker. Coming from humble beginnings she has worked tirelessly to become a positive example of what hard work can accomplish for her children, Elijah (8) and Azari (6). While attending school full-time to become an LVN, she struggled as a single mom to meet the financial needs of her young children. “We ate A LOT of ramen noodles. I had to learn to be creative to feed my family, but also, to make our food last. I’ve had to add hot dogs to rice for a protein and open a can of green beans for a veggie. I made sure my kids didn’t feel the struggle that I felt,” says Shanna.
Today, Shanna is proud of her LVN license and is pursuing her nursing degree attending classes by day, and helping to support her family with a full-time job at night. She and her fiancé receive no assistance and work hard to ensure their family has all their nutritional needs met.
Today, she is thankful for the Boys and Girls Club Summer Food Program, which is provided by the Food Bank. Shanna explains, “I don’t know what I would do without them. During the school year, my grocery budget is over $150 per week. My kids are active and hungry—they eat a lot! During the summer, my grocery bill would double if we didn’t participate in the summer food program.” Adding to the financial pressure, Elijah and Azari are joined by their step sister, Heaven (9) four days out of the week.
As they gobble down their afternoon snack at the Boys and Girls Club, it is obvious their mother’s hard work influences their beliefs about their future. Azari speaks of becoming a veterinarian, Elijah an engineer specializing in car design and Heaven a forensic scientist. They all say they think better when their stomachs are full and they can concentrate. Azari says, “When my stomach is hungry, it sounds like a tiger and it hurts! I can’t think!”
The Summer Food Service Program provides summer meals from the first day of summer to the last, so no child goes to bed hungry. Families in the San Antonio area who rely on free or reduced meal assistance during the school year can contact the San Antonio Food Bank for the participating site nearest them by calling (210) 431-8326.