The following content is created in consultation with Feeding San Diego. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC San Diego’s editorial staff. Click here to learn more about Feeding San Diego.

Summer is a time of growth for all living things, including children. Here are three simple things that can make all the difference in unlocking their physical, cognitive and emotional potential when they're out of school.

Kids can seem to sprout up several inches overnight. There's truth behind this perception, since growth hormones are secreted during deep sleep. And there's certainly evidence of sleep's role in repairing and rejuvenating cells, building immunity and regulating moods and metabolism. While it's easy for children to fall off schedule during the summer, when it's still light at bedtime and there's no school bus to miss, they still need a consistent 8 to 13 hours per night in order to make the most of the following day.

For some kids, summer is a time when they follow their curiosity and gain knowledge that can't be taught in a classroom. For others, it's a period of boredom and apathy when they backslide and lose months of academic skills. The simple thing they need to make the difference? Books. Reading just four or five books over the course of the break can have about the same effect as going to summer school.

Growing brains and bodies demand high quality fuel, never more so than during the activity-filled months of summer. But one of every six kids will spend their time off worrying about their next meal. For the thousands of children who normally get free or reduced-cost lunch at school, the end of the acadenic year means the loss of a major source of nutritious food.

Here's how you can help: Between now and June 9, pick up a $5 or $10 Virtual Food Box when you shop at a Ralphs or Food 4 Less. Scan the code at check-out and Feeding San Diego will provide four nutritious meals for every dollar spent through its "Fuel for Summer" campaign.

Feeding San Diego is the leading hunger-relief organization in San Diego County and the only Feeding America member in the region. The organization sources food from donors, including farms, packing sheds, grocery stores, restaurants and retailers, then distributes healthy, nutritious meals to more than 63,000 children and individuals.

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