Putting hunger on vacation thanks to the new Summer Meals Site Finder tool.
USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded, state-administered program, last year served more than 187 million meals to children in low-income areas to ensure that they continued to receive proper nutrition throughout the summer when schools were closed. But that number represents just a small fraction of the children who are eligible to receive summer meals. Many families may not have taken advantage of the program because they didn’t know where meals were served near them.
That’s why this summer we here at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service recently launched the Summer Meal Site Finder, a new web and mobile tool that allows parents, teens and children in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to type in their address, city, state or zip code to get a list of the summer meal sites closest to them. The tool also provides information about each of the 45,000 sites already registered for this summer, including their operating hours, contact information, and directions to each site. Read more »
A group of young people at an indoor summer site enjoy a nutritious meal. They know that Summer Food Rocks!
This week is National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week, an important time to emphasize USDA’s commitment to ensure children and teens have access to safe, nutritious meals when school lets out. Through the Summer Food Service Program, federal assistance is provided for state agencies and non-profit sponsors to help children in eligible high-need areas get the proper nutrition they need during the summer when schools are not in session.
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, students across the country are getting healthier school meals with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, as well as less sugar, fat, and sodium. With more than 90 percent of schools meeting the healthy meal standards, children are getting the nutrition needed to reach their full potential. But poor nutrition during the summer months can also affect children’s academic performance during the school year. USDA’s summer feeding programs help children get the nourishing food they need all year long so they come back to school in the fall ready to learn. Read more »
“Kids in NY find enjoying the farm’s bounty is a perfect summer activity.” Photo Credit Lindsay Morris
Summer is the season when harvests of healthful foods are most abundant: gardens overflow with zucchini and berries, trees are laden with sweet, ripe fruit, and farmers tend and harvest crops from dawn until dusk. Despite the seasonal abundance, many children go hungry when school is out and the food programs that fed them during the year are no longer part of their daily routine.
Bringing summer’s bounty to hungry kids is “just common sense” according to Cathy Rogers, School Food Service Director for Pipestone Area Schools, located in a small city of 4,000 in the southwest corner of Minnesota. Every day during the summer months, she serves fresh foods from local producers to 400 of her students. Read more »
Today marks the 2nd annual National Summer Food Service Program Kick Off Week (June 11-15). During the school year, more than 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. But when school is out, many low-income kids relying on these school meals, go hungry. To close that gap, USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps children get the nutritious meals they need during the summer months so they’re ready to learn when they return to school in the fall.
A teen attending the summer food service site at the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County in Garden City, Idaho enjoys a healthy snack.
This week, we’ll be sharing SFSP information through Twitter, blogs, and a variety of National Summer Food Service Program kick-off events throughout the country. Our children’s continued ability to learn, grow up healthy, and reach their full potential will depend on what we do now to secure their future. Read more »
On June 9th, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service kicked off the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) — “Food That’s In When School Is Out”, in Atlanta by visiting the Marietta Community Center in Marietta, Georgia as part of USDA’s first ever National SFSP Celebration Week. The Center provided free meals and a nutrition class on the new USDA MyPlate to 50 wonderful children, as feeding kids during the summer can pose a challenge to some parents when school meals are no longer available.
Although the SFSP program is completely dedicate to helping kids during the summer, when they are most vulnerable to experiencing hunger because school is out, our participation rate on this program is only 17%, but USDA is doing everything it can to get more meals to children during the summer months. We need to be sure that every child who should be receiving a summer meal gets one because no child should ever be going hungry. Although our National School Lunch Program is serving more than 21 million children during the school year, we are only serving 3 million children through SFSP, so clearly there is still a long way to go in reaching all the children who are eligible for this program, and we need everyone’s help to pitch in. Read more »