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What Will You Do To Help Feed Hungry Children This Summer?

Monday was the first day of the first ever National Summer Food Service Program Week: “Food That’s in When School is Out”.  When the school year ends, many children and teens who rely on School Meals are at a higher risk of going hungry during the summer when school is not in session. This week, we are raising awareness about the Summer Food Service Programto make sure kids don’t go hungry this summer.  During the school year, more than 21 million children receive free and reduce-priced breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfastand National School Lunch Programs.  And yet, when school lets out, only slightly more than 3 million receive a meal through a summer program.    It is imperative that we do better feeding our nation’s children.

Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center (left) and FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon (right) discussed the summer food service program with other partners and members of the media.

Yesterday, USDA held a media roundtable event with several partners to talk about the importance of summer food and what it means to so many children around our country.  USDA Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary, Kevin Concannon, was joined by Jim Weill, President of Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Josh Wachs, Chief Strategy Officer at Share Our Strength, K.J. Lavoie, Senior Director of Government Relations at Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Tamara Tyrell, a parent to a child participating in the Summer Food Service Program.  The dynamic discussion and inspiring comments of all panelists can be heard by visiting the Food and Nutrition Service website or by clicking here for the media call recording. 

Are you wondering what you can do to help feed hungry children this summer?  The good news is, everyone can help!  Whether you are part of an organization or an individual, there is something for everyone.  Here are a few ways you or your organization can help this summer:

1.      Conduct Community Outreach with the National Hunger Hotline: Help ensure families know about the Summer Food Service Program, and where kids can go to receive a nutritious meal.  They can contact the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE, or contact their local Summer Food Service Program State Agency to find a participating site in their community.   Summer Food Service Program State Agency contacts can be found at www.summerfood.usda.gov.  Encourage sites and sponsors in your community to register and promote their site using the National Hunger Hotline.   

2.      Volunteer: Encourage program sponsors and sites to post their volunteer opportunities at www.serve.gov/endhunger.  This website allows volunteer opportunities to be posted, as well as allows volunteers to search for opportunities.  Many Summer Food Service Program Sponsors and Sites need volunteers to help make their programs successful.  Volunteers can be used for things such as setting up or cleaning up a site, or planning recreational or educational activities for children.  Looking to be more involved?  Search for a volunteer opportunity near you and help your local sponsors and sites!

3.      Promote the SFSP Outreach Toolkit:  The Outreach Toolkit will help sponsors and sites create outreach materials that will help the community learn about the program.  The Outreach Toolkit and other resources can be found at www.summerfood.usda.gov.

4.      Make Your Commitment: Don’t let children in your community go hungry this summer.  Make your commitment.  Become a champion to end hunger.  Visit: www.endhunger.usda.gov.

Together we can make the difference in the lives of our nation’s children.  Thank you for your support.  For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit: www.summerfood.usda.gov

Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary (left) and K.J. Lavoie, Senior Director of Government Relations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (right) discuss their personal and professional ties to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Boys and Girls Clubs of America