Budget Cuts Put Summer Food at Risk

The current budget woes at the state level in Minnesota leave children hanging in the balance. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals to kids and is funded by the federal government. Last summer, the SFSP served almost two million meals. The program has expanded this year to assist with the growing number of kids who receive free and reduced lunch (over 300,000 or 36.6% of Minnesota’s student population). Yet the looming state shutdown has forced many SFSP sites to close, here and in other states.

A woman from Minnesota recently called the National Hunger Hotline distraught after being notified that her local SFSP site was being closed because of budget issues. The woman had used the site for her two children and wanted to know what she could do about this issue. The advocate was able to provide the woman with information about a BackPack Program and a KidsCafe (both of which are held at the local food bank) as well as phone numbers for her local state representatives and the Department of Education.

Take Action:

  • Advocate for ongoing support for government nutrition programs by calling your representative
  • Donate to local food pantries
  • Refer people to the National Hunger Hotline for food banks and other agencies
  • Download a flyer to post in your local community or worship center in English or Spanish

The National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3 HUNGRY and 1-877-8 HAMBRE (1-866-348-6479 and 1-877-842-6273) refers people in need of emergency food assistance to food pantries, government programs, and model grassroots organizations that work to improve access to healthy, nutritious food, and build self-reliance.  Speak to a Hotline Advocate Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm EST. Hablamos español.

Patricia Rojas