More than 200 employees and community members gathered at USDA headquarters to mark the Department’s 3rd annual Iftar dinner. The theme of the evening was food safety, and Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, provided keynote remarks.
Last week we were honored to host USDA’s 3rd annual Iftar commemorating the month of Ramadan and the contributions of USDA’s Muslim employees. More than 200 attendees, including USDA employees, Muslim community members, and representatives from faith-based and secular non-profit organizations, gathered at USDA headquarters for an evening with a themed focus on “Food and Faith: Setting a Safe and Healthy Table.” Read more »
A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
Despite having some of the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in New Jersey, the city of Perth Amboy refuses to let kids go hungry over the summer. In 2011 the city extended the Summer Food Service Program by two weeks and added 20 new feeding sites. Through an aggressive marketing effort using local newspapers, businesses, cable TV access programming and schools to advertise site locations and activities, Perth Amboy has made providing meals to kids when school’s out a top priority. Read more »
Feeding hungry kids healthy food is what the Summer Food Service Program is all about.
The “Food, Fun and Sun!” Contest is in full swing and submissions are rolling in to beat the submission deadline of August 20. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service launched the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Story and Photo contest as a way to collect promising practices of the SFSP around the four target categories of the contest: Read more »
A couple of weeks ago I joined two exciting events: the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) Convention, here in our nation’s capital, and the White House Connecting for the Common Good Conference in Denver.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack led the NCLR Town Hall on nutrition and spoke of the need to find partners in every community to tackle the problems of hunger and access to nutritious food. Latinos are the hungriest demographic group in our country: one out of four Latinos has difficulty putting food on the table, and two out of five children live in homes that struggle with hunger. Secretary Vilsack referred to USDA’s approach to community engagement with La Mesa Completa/The Complete Table, an initiative to ensure that Latinos have access to federal nutrition assistance and a place at the table to discuss ways to promote healthier communities. He emphasized that it is in our nation’s interest to address the issue of nutrition because it is about healthcare, about economic security, and about our national security. “It is an issue that goes to the heart of the morality of this country,” he said. Read more »
In the U.S., Hispanic households experience hunger at rates that are higher than the national average. According to USDA research, one out of every four Hispanic households in the U.S. is food insecure, compared with a national average of 15 percent. Hispanics also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) at rates that are lower than the national average.
To call attention to this need to better reach the Latino population with access to nutrition assistance programs, USDA leadership participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in Washington DC from July 23-25. President Obama also gave a keynote speech at the conference, which had about 2,000 attendees. Read more »
As part of the Diabetes Prevention Program, kids enjoy two hours of swimming before lunch.
With summer in full swing, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to visit Summer Food Service sites in Indian Country. Our journey landed us first at a Bureau of Indian Education school in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. Eagle Butte is about 170 miles northeast of Rapid City, SD and home to a Seamless Summer site in full operation, serving over 200 kids daily breakfast and lunch. Read more »