School’s out! Kids across the country are excited about the fun that summer may bring, but unfortunately, too many low-income children are missing out on summer meals. According to Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) annual Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, released June 13, during July 2016, the programs served 3 million children across the country — 4.8 percent fewer children than were served in the previous summer. Only 1 in 7 children (15 to 100) who needed summer nutrition received it in 2016.
In a news release, FRAC President Jim Weill stressed the need for more outreach: “Through creative partnerships and increased outreach efforts, we can increase participation among low-income children in the Summer Nutrition Programs and ensure every child has a hunger-free summer.” While many states saw decreases in participation from July 2015 to July 2016, 22 states grew participation, with eight growing by 10 percent or more, largely because of strong outreach efforts by state agencies and partner organizations.
The USDA website states that it plans to serve more than 200 million free meals at approved SFSP sites this summer and offers a variety of resource tools, including an improved summer meal site finder.
There’s definitely been an uptick in publicity for summer meals. Below are just some of the articles shared recently by USDA, the SNA Smart Brief, and FRAC news digests:
- ‘Meet Up And Eat Up’ Launches Summer Meals for Kids
According to the Michigan Department of Education, 535,000 low-income Michigan children received meals during the school year, but less than 85,000 of those children, or 17 percent, ate meals or snacks at approved summer meal sites in their neighborhoods.
The Holland Sentinel, Michigan, June 11, 2017
- Summer Food Service Program Kicks Off
The Summer Food Service Program will provide more than 11,000 meals per day across the state of West Virginia.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting, June 8, 2017
- Texas School Turns Cafeteria into Diner for Summer Meals
WFAA-TV 8, Texas, June 7, 2017
- California Food for California Kids: Promoting California Grown Fruits and Vegetables in Summer Meals
USDA, The Dirt, June 6, 2017
- Virginia Grant to feed Food Insecure Students in Summer
Approximately 9,000 students in nine Richmond schools and eight Southwest Virginia school divisions will benefit from grant funds to increase food security during the summer months, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.
Richmond-Times Dispatch, June 5, 2017
- One text message could tell students where a free summer meal is
If you text “food” and your zip code to 877-877, within seconds, you will receive a text with the participating locations closest to you, and what times they are serving lunch or dinner.
WVLT-TV, Alcoa, TN, June 5, 2017
- Georgia Officials expect to serve 40,000-45,000 meals this summer.
GainesvilleTimes.com, GA, June 4, 2017
- Summer feeding program expands across Cullman County
Last summer, a record 2.6 million-plus meals were served to Alabama children and teens at risk of hunger at more than 1,100 sponsor sites, according to the state education department. And organizers hope even more children and sponsors will participate this year.
The Cullman Times, Alabama, June 2, 2017
- Officials say nearly 3 million meals will be served to New Mexico children over the summer as part of the yearly summer program, meant to help low-income families.
Las Cruces Sun-News, NM, June 1, 2017
- Food trucks to bring meals to children in need
The Buzzin’ Bistro in New Britain, Conn., the Lunch Lizard in Mesa County, Colo., and the HCS Tomahawk in Hillsboro, Ohio, are brightly decorated food trucks that will make their way through local neighborhoods this summer to provide free meals for children.
The Hartford Courant, CONN, May 24, 2017
The Times-Gazette, Hillsboro, Ohio, May 24, 2017
KJCT-TV, Grand Junction, Colorado, May 24, 2017