Many children from low-income families depend on school for more than an education. For children who are living below the poverty line, schools also provide a dependable source of food and nutrition. In the 2009-2010 school year, 19.5 million students participated in the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) but only 2.8 million participated in the summer meals program. The limited reach of the summer nutrition programs meant that for the majority of those kids, the end of the school year was the end of healthy, filling meals. To raise awareness about the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), cities are hosting Summer Feeding Kick Off Days across the nation.
From Texas to Delaware to New York, local food banks and community centers have hosted Summer Feeding Kick Off Days. The East Texas Food Bank, which is expected to serve over 100,000 meals this summer, hosted their Kick Off Day at the local park. The Food Bank handed out 150 meals in an hour. In Delaware, Kick Off Day was held at Garfield Park, and close to 150 children showed up for free bagged lunches, a moon bounce, fire truck and children’s games. This coming weekend, the 16th of July, the New York Coalition Against Hunger is hosting their own Summer Meals Kick Off Day in Brooklyn.
If you are interested in the summer meals program here are some steps you can take:
- Download the Summer Feeding Toolkit- for a step by step guide to hosting a Summer Meals Kick Off Day
- Become a sponsor or a feeding site through the USDA
- Register your Summer Feeding Sites for the National Hunger Hotline at NHC Join – — over 3,700 sites have already registered
- Locate a Summer Feeding Site in your area, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3HUNGRY or 1-866-348-6479