On July 6th, I attended an event to kick-off this season’s Summer Food Service Program in Texas and to celebrate the state’s third annual “Mayor’s Challenge” to end child hunger during the summer. The event was held at NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ youth camp in Duncanville, Texas.
With Deion’s help, Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples issued an important challenge to mayors across Texas. That challenge is to raise awareness about the summer food service program which provides free healthy meals and snacks to kids who attend sponsoring sites when school is closed. Participating mayors have an opportunity to win a grant for their city based on summer food service participation.
Prior to the event, a roundtable meeting with representatives from the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Hunger Initiative, Dairy Max, and City Square was held to discuss ways to increase participation in the program. The discussion was a productive one that centered on helping to end hunger among children during the summer months when children more frequently report going hungry. I was glad that Deion and David Green, the Mayor of Duncanville, were able to attend the roundtable and share their thoughts with the group.
As FNS’ regional administrator for the southwest, I have a commitment to the children of Texas, and I believe partnerships—whether with states, organizations, or individuals—are key to ensuring that no child goes hungry. Deion Sanders, in particular, has been a great partner in our efforts to feed children during the summer gap period. His commitment to feeding children goes far beyond his youth camp. In fact, he’s traveled throughout the state of Texas to promote the Summer Food Service Program and to reach his personal goal of feeding over 100,000 kids this summer. With partners like Deion, nutrition assistance programs can better reach those who need them the most.
For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, please click here.