Childhood Food Solutions has followed with interest Maine’s progress on ending childhood hunger. We now believe we are ready to provide some insights.

We base everything on the school year as viewed by a food-insecure child. Hunger mostly occurs on the annual 185 non-school days.

Starting 12 years ago, we identified the gaps in government programs, and attempted to fill them with food pantries, churches and U.S. Department of Agriculture summer meal programs. Nothing worked. We found we had to provide groceries through elementary-age children in order to get a “calorie food safety net” behind the closed doors of food-insecure homes.

We defined food SECURITY for a child as:

“(1) I never run out of food; (2) My mom never runs out of food; (3) Groceries show up when we need them.”

Childhood Food Solutions provides food ahead of non-school days. We have used sacks of groceries, but we are now transitioning to President Trump’s “Harvest Box” idea.

The Childhood Food Solutions method is different, for example:

(1) Forty-eight percent of our budget is spent on summer break and 15 percent on winter break.

(2) Our sacks and boxes of groceries are sufficient for children to share with their mothers and older sisters, thus, in the event of the girls or women becoming pregnant, minimizing fetal starvation.

(3) Preterm and low-weight birth rates are improving and Medicaid expenditure is declining.

CFS is currently focusing on justifying federal legislation because of the link to President Trump’s “Harvest Box” idea, but we would like to present our method to Maine. We believe Maine can reduce food insecurity, reduce Medicaid costs and fund the groceries by the financial savings.

Anthony J. Fairhead

executive director, Childhood Food Solutions

Cincinnati, Ohio