Overflowing joy fills the hearts of students of all ages as they now enjoy their summer away from the classroom. But as they prepare for all the fun that lies ahead, many, some who may not even realize, the end of the school year means stress for parents who struggle to provide meals for them while they are home. Unfortunately, unless these children are enrolled in a summer program, food security is out of reach.

“In Mercer County alone there is over 12,000 children that are food insecure,” explains Sandra Toussaint, the president and CEO of United Way of Greater Mercer County adding that, “every summer the number of children who are food insecure is growing, according to feeding America, 12 percent of Mercer County’s children are food insecure. ”

On June 11, UWGMC hosted its 5th Annual Strike Out Hunger community meal packing and surpassed the goal of 75,000 meals and packed 84,740 meals of fortified soup. The meals will benefit food pantries throughout Mercer County.

Megan Allain, the Vice President of Community Impact at UWGMC says, “the event in and of itself , I think, is the epitome of what a United Way can do in the community, which is bringing together nonprofits, bringing together volunteers, and bringing together our corporate partners so that we can all work together for a common goal.”

UMGMC, which works to provide meals to several organizations in the community, provides a number of programs to communities that greatly appreciate them.

In a testimonial, Tina, a beneficiary said that she visits Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in times of need. “At the end of the month, most of the time, how you feel with three kids and you run out of food and of course (the) pay check not enough, we just come here and they give you what you want. That is how amazing this program is.”

United Way of Greater Mercer County is always looking for volunteers and welcomes donations. Visit their site at http://www.uwgmc.org/