Hundreds Line Up as Local Organizations Partner to Feed Kids During the Summer

Alessandra Young | News Channel 8

Jun 22, 2024

Several families in need were able to put food on the table thanks to local organizations who partnered together.

The Juvenile Welfare Board and St. Pete Free Clinic gave out hundreds of meals.

Families received food like fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, canned goods, and more.

“Even though I do work, it’s still hard to have food for your household,” said Chery Harris, a mother of three.

The event started at 9 a.m., but cars were lined up hours before the event started.

“Most of the folks you would see here in this line, one or both of the adults in the household are working, which is why we scheduled this on a Saturday,” said Beth Houghton, with JWB.

Juvenile Welfare Board’s CEO, Beth Houghton, said they are committed to ensuring no child goes hungry, and invest $4.2 million in bulk food with the St. Pete Free Clinic.

During the summer, Houghton said they wanted to come up with a solution to help bridge the gap of children who may not have access to food.

“It was clear that we were going to have two really big gaps this summer where kids were not at school getting food, but would go a week or two weeks without access to school food,” she said.

According to Houghton, families face several challenges in today’s world, including COVID funds ending.

“Higher rent and higher food costs, and other costs where families’ incomes do not keep up, there are just a lot of people who are strapped,” Houghton said.

Mothers like Harris said nobody should be starving, and that as a working mother, it’s still hard to put food on the table.

“You can go to the grocery store and spend $100 and come out with three bags. What’s three bags that’s going to last a week, not very much,” she said. “At least with this, you’ll have something to add to whatever you have in your household.”

More than 50 pounds of food were given away to each family, with several volunteers dedicating their time to help make a difference.

“Keep in mind tonight, if you sit down with your kids and have food in the pantry or refrigerator that you can pull out, without worrying, how fortunate you are,” Houghton said.

This event was one of six that will be taking place this summer. For a list of all of the summer events, click here.

Watch the interview with JWB CEO Beth Houghton at