#GetYourGrubOn This Summer with GrubUp #Pittsburgh

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Help feed Pittsburgh's children by spreading awareness of the GrubUp program, becoming a sponsor site, or contacting your legislative representative to expand summer meal programs across America.

For many school-aged children, when summer hits, hunger strikes.  With 45,000 children in Allegheny county being food insecure, and 73,500 eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, finding breakfast and lunch when school closes can become a very real problem.

In the City of Pittsburgh, there’s a fantastic program that combats this problem.  It’s called GrubUp, and provides no-cost meals to children across 125+ sponsor sites around the city.  Not only are the meals no-cost, but they are available to everyone, regardless of income, reducing the stigma for children.

The fact of the matter is that low-income households are not the only ones who suffer from food insecurity.  It’s also a problem for many middle-class families.  Regardless of where you fall on the income scale, no one wants to be singled out as the one who can’t afford food.  That’s why GrubUp has made these sites open to every child up to age 18, or up to age 21 for youth with disabilities.  It’s not about pity or judgement; it’s about everyone sitting down together, eating a meal, and having fun.

I had a chance to sit down with the organizers of the program, and their passion was evident.  They’re not content with keeping the status quo:  they’ve set a goal to feed 10% more children than last year, or 7,640 youth.  To help reach this goal and spread awareness of the program, they’ve added the GrubUp truck to their arsenal.  This truck will make many trips alongside the ever popular Roving Art Cart, and make several other trips to parks, pools, and spray parks around the city throughout the summer, serving no-cost meals everywhere it goes.

Click here to see the GrubUp Food Truck’s Schedule, or to find a participating sponsor site near you.  You can also call 2-1-1, or, to find the closest sponsor site, text “MEALPA” to 877-877.

How You Can Help GrubUp

There are a few ways you can help spread awareness of this program.  The first is to simply talk about it.  Tell people about it.  Share it on social media. But if you want to do something more, there’s two powerful ways to make an impact that literally anyone, in the city or in the entire country, can do.

Identify a New Sponsor Site

Do your kids go to a summer program in the city?  Do you run a summer program for kids in the City of Pittsburgh?  GrubUp has expanded their sites by 30% in the past year, but they’re not stopping anytime soon.  If you run or know of a local non-profit, childcare, church, neighborhood group, or any other organization that runs a program for school-aged youth, get in touch with GrubUp organizers.  They have funding to bring the program to your site, and can even provide site monitors for you.  To help feed Pittsburgh’s children by becoming a sponsor site, contact Carly Walker at carly.walker{at}pittsburghpa{dot}gov .

Help Expand the Program Nationwide

Tomorrow, June 30, the GrubUp Truck and Roving Art Cart will be at Troy Hill Spray Park from 11am-1pm.  Joining in the festivities will be Senator Bob Casey.  He’ll be there to talk about the Summer Meals Act of 2015.  Currently, for districts to qualify for financing for a summer meal program, 50% or more of their students must qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  This bill, among other things, proposes to move that number down to 40%, allowing more districts to feed their children year round, not just when school is in session.

If you’re in Pittsburgh, go to Troy Hill Spray Park tomorrow to hear him speak.  (And for the GrubUp food truck and roving art cart!)  If you can’t, or you’re in any other part of the country, contact your local congressional representatives and senators voicing your support of the bill.  Call.  Write a letter.  Shoot them an email.  Because feeding America’s children is important, and reaching more of them is just a bill away.

Don’t know who your local representatives are?  Find out here.

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