Summer Shouldn't Mean Hunger for Our Nation's Children
By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food,
During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family’s income. When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in USDA’s summer meals programs.
That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.
USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and
While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013. Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states. The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide—7 million more than the previous year! We hope to continue building on last year’s successes with our state and local partners in
In Arizona, families have several locations they can go to for summertime meals beginning as early as June 2, when a majority of schools are out for the summer. To find locations, Arizona families can go online to Arizona Summer Service. You can search either by zip code or site.
Jonathan Dinsmore, produce and
Yuma farmer and Yuma County Farm Bureau President Jonathan Dinsmore advocates for
The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical
I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations, and volunteers
If you or your organization is interested in helping us reduce the risk of hunger among our nation’s youth, visit our website, www.summerfood.usda.gov. The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices, and more. State representatives are also available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.
This year, let’s work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.