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Connect Your Community With the Summer Food Service Program!

Do you know about the resources USDA has to help feed hungry children over the summer? The USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a webinar as part of their Together We Can Partnership Series about the Summer Food Service Program to help connect individuals and organizations to the program.

Explained in the simplest terms, the Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded, state administered program that provides free nutritious meals to children in low-income areas. The program helps ensure children receive the nutritious food that they need during the summer.  Many children from low-income families rely on school meals during the school year and no longer have access to those meals in the summer.   The program operates when school is not in session, typically from the end of the school year in late May or early June until school resumes, usually late August or early September.

Children in Cook County, Illinois, enjoy a nutritious summer meal from the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Lunch Bus.

Children in Cook County, Illinois, enjoy a nutritious summer meal from the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Lunch Bus.

Even though more than 31 million children access free and reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program during the school year, only 3 million children received meals through the Summer Food Service Program during the summer of 2011.  We need your help to make sure that more kids are receiving healthy meals this summer!   Even if you aren’t part of an organization that provides food for children over the summer, you can still play a role in helping to connect kids in your community to existing feeding sites.  Get in touch with your local state agency that administers the SFSP program, or call the National Hunger hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to find out where existing SFSP sites are in your area.  You can use the outreach section of the SFSP website to learn ways that you can get the word out in your community about existing sites, such as brochures, door hangers, flyers, and a lot of other material.

The Together We Can Partnership series aims to share opportunities to collaborate with USDA to help those in need in your community.  Our next webinar is Wednesday, June 20th, and is entitled Together We Can Put Healthy and Affordable Food on the Table. Learn more about the series and sign up, please visit our registration website.

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