Schoooooools out for summer!
During the school year, many children receive reduced-price or free breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Programs. Many parents rely on these meals for their children during the school year so what happens to children when school’s out? The USDA has developed a Summer Food Service Program designed to fill that gap of nutrition when school is out.
Outreach is the biggest obstacle in making the summer meals a success. Millions of low-income children across the country may go hungry this summer because they don’t know about these programs. Right now the program only reaches a fraction of children who are in need. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process and lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again. Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues.
Depending on federal qualifications, some site locations are open to the entire community and serve many youth activity focused programs and organizations. Most summer meal programs do not require children to actually attend the school that they receive their summer meals from. The USDA wants to open the service to as many children as possible to feed as many in need as possible.
If you’re interested in these summer meals for your children ask your local cafeteria if they’re enrolled in the program. If they’re not, give a call to the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (English or Spanish) to learn of sites in your area.
It is after all, all about the kids! Have a healthy and nutritious summer everyone!