Finding Summer Meals
Children enjoying their school lunches. (USDA photo)
School lunches have been in the headlines recently, from a West Virginia delegate's proposal to make children work at their schools in order to receive meals to news surrounding the House Committee on Agriculture's farm bill, which would end school lunches for nearly 210,000 children.
Still, the biggest threat to feeding schoolchildren at the moment isn't legislation or program cuts, but summer vacation.
Summer is upon us, which means that many schools will soon be shutting down until September—and many school lunch and breakfast programs will be on break, as well. When schools are closed during the summer months, many children lose the free school meals they depend on, but the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established to ensure that children in low-income households continue to receive meals when school is not in session. Free meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines are provided to all children 18 and under at approved SFSP sites around the country.
While summer meal programs aren't as plentiful as school lunch programs, they do exist. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (español) and a live operator will tell you where the closest sites serving free, nutritious summer meals are located. Or visit www.whyhunger.org/findfood to locate sites using an online map.
If you're not personally in need of summer meals for yourself or children in your household, the site offers resources—fliers, door hangers, brochures, and more—that individuals, churches, and community groups can use to spread the word about summer meals. Also, be sure to contact your members of Congress and tell than that the farm bill must not increase hunger by cutting programs that feed children and families.
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