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USDA Needs Your Help To Keep Kids From Going Hungry This Summer

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The summer months are here. Families are making plans for vacations and leisure time spent at the local pool or beach. But for many parents and caregivers, summer is also a time of anxiety as they wonder if they’ll be able to put enough food on the table without school lunch and breakfast to supplement mealtimes. That’s why USDA’s summer meals programs, which provide free meals to disadvantaged kids while school is out, is so important.

Today kicks off Summer Food Service Program Week, an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevalence of child hunger. This summer, we have set a goal of feeding 5 million more meals to eligible kids across the country through our partnerships with state agencies and local organizations. I’m proud to say that last year our partners served 161 million summer meals, feeding approximately 3.5 million children on a typical summer day.

Unfortunately, millions more children face a higher risk for hunger in the United States during the summer, which is why we’re redoubling efforts to reach more children at risk for hunger. We’ve issued a national call to action for schools, community and faith-based organizations across the country to increase the number of SFSP sponsors and feeding sites to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out. We’re also working more closely with communities to help families locate sites where summer meals are served and we are providing intensive technical assistance to expand the program in five targeted states – Arkansas, California, Colorado, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Research shows a strong indication that poor nutrition during the summer months can set kids up for academic failure once school starts. The Summer Food Service Program is one way we’re working to make sure that this nation’s most precious resources have access to good nutrition all year round.

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program and to locate a site near you, please visit USDA’s Summer Food Service Program website. You can also call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) and a live operator will tell you where the closest sites serving free, nutritious summer meals are located. To locate sites using an online map visit WhyHunger.org.

One Response to “USDA Needs Your Help To Keep Kids From Going Hungry This Summer”

  1. Danny Woerner says:

    I have worked for USDA FSIS as a Food Inspector, Food Technologist, & Consumer Safety Inspector in Texas for over 34 years working 147 different federal plants. In short, there is too much waste of edible food protein in many federally inspected plants where the plants simply self-condemn wholesome food such as chicken necks, livers, gizzards, & hearts to the tune of over 100,000# per day! Note: each wasted giblet set (neck, liver, heart, gizzard) weighs at least 8 ounces and an average sized plant slaughters 200,000 birds a day. These plants should be given incentives to salvages this edible food and distribute it all to the hungry around the world. Many poultry plants do not salvage the edible by-products or edible offal when they are only interested in the skeleton muscle  meat of the birds. They cut the neck and entire viscera off and let it go down the drain. Many plants slaughter a half a million birds a day so you can see how much waste this involves. Plants claim the labor is too much to salvage this edible food and no one wants the “A Grade bird with giblets” anymore.

    Can USDA do something here? Maybe the plants could get tax breaks or incentives to save all this food for distribution. Maybe the food banks or world services organizations could come in and salvage the neck & giblets. A billion plus pounds dumped every day of edible food in the chicken plants alone! Similar issues we can discuss in beef, pork, turkey plants if we can talk or if you want more information on this. I believe that if the meat, poultry, and egg industries knew they could salvage this wholesome food, they would be happy to help out if the incentives were there for them. If somehow we could save this food, it would amount to millions of pounds a day for food banks, etc.

    There are many other similar issues of food waste that could be addressed to feed hungry people worldwide.

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