What Is Your Community or Place of Faith Doing to Help Keep Kids Healthy This Summer?
During the school year, the National School Lunch Program serves more than 30.9 million students. What happens when school lets out? In the summer, about 1.4 million of these children eat a school meal in summer school, while over 2 million more enjoy breakfasts, lunches or snacks through the Summer Food Service Program. Some of the nation's children are going without healthy meals in the summer. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again. Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. Passionate community and faith leaders ensure there are meal sites in parks, schools, camps, places of faith and other locations nationwide that provide educational and nutritional meals to children to foster healthier lifestyles. However, the need is great and we need your help!
Here's How You Can Help:
Open a Feeding Site
Your community building or place of faith could become a feeding site for children! Â Sites are the physical locations were food is served. Each site location must work with a Summer Food Service Program sponsor that is financially and administratively responsible for the meal service at the site. You can also help by coordinating site participation with other youth activity programs in your area. The primary reason for the limited access to the program is that there are not enough feeding sites. So become part of the solution and open your community space to children seeking education opportunities and a healthy meal. To learn more contact your state agency: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Contacts/StateDirectory.htm
Become a Sponsor
Your community organization can be a sponsor, which means acting as the organizer for the Summer Food Service Program sites. Public or private non-profit schools, local, municipal, county, tribal or state government, private non-profits, public or private non-profit camps, and private or non-profit universities or colleges are examples of local organizations that often serve as Summer Food Service Program sponsors. Sponsors must be able to provide a capable staff, managerial skills, and food service capabilities. A sponsor may provide its own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or contract for meals with a food vendor. To learn how to become a Sponsor visit: http://www.summerfood.usda.gov/Sponsor.htm
While feeding children is the top priority of the Summer Food Service Program, programming is what keeps children coming back. This takes volunteers - and LOTS of them - especially in June, July and August. Volunteers can help with basics like transporting food, setting up or cleaning up a site - they also plan and do educational or recreational activities with the children. Contact your State agency to find a SFSP Sponsor or feeding site to volunteer with in your area. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Contacts/StateDirectory.htm
Tell Others About the Summer Food Service Program
Tell others how the Summer Food Service Program helps feed hungry children and discuss how they or their organization can help. The more people know about the issues, the more likely they are to take action to help end hunger or know how to help their own children. There are great outreach materials here: http://www.summerfood.usda.gov/Outreach.htm
To Learn More About How You Can Help Feed Kids Healthy Food This Summer Visit: www.summerfood.usda.gov
To watch a previously recorded webinar about the Summer Food Service Program, visit: http://www.summerfood.usda.gov/webinar.htm