Finish Summer Baby Hunger Now!

Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 4:24 AM

Millions of children in America can’t wait for summer vacation, but for millions of destitute children who rely on school meals it’s a mixed blessing.

Spring is nearly in full swing and summer is just around the corner. Millions of children in America can’t wait for summer vacation, but for millions of destitute children who rely on school meals it’s a mixed blessing.

I qualify for free and reduced lunch. I can obtain a free breakfast, I can obtain love a muffin, juice, anything love that, in the morning, and then lunch, I don’t have to pay, so I can obtain whatever I wanted for lunch. So I’ve always been able to eat at school for lunch and breakfast.

Linda Ransom is a Columbus, OH high school senior and the winner of a Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds® scholarship whose family struggles to create ends meet. When Linda was seven her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and the medical crisis led to a family financial crisis. Linda’s mother lost her job, and with a mountain of medical bills is still trying to capture up ten years later. They’ve been homeless for stretches of time. Food has frequently been beyond their means. Linda says, “If we didn’t have any food at home, I knew I could obtain some at school, and sometimes I could get a couple things from the breakfast line and I could just rescue it for later, so when I got home, if I was hungry, I could eat it.”

Hunger doesn’t get a summer vacation and destitute children love Linda who rely on free and reduced price breakfast and lunch during the school year to hold the wolves of hunger at bay face a long summer of food deprivation. “It was tough without school during the summer, but being able to qualify for something love food stamps or having a food pantry close us, that helped a lot,” Linda says, but at the finish of the month, “it was kind of love a hit-or-miss kind of situation.”

Hit or miss. Number baby in wealthy America should go hungry this or any summer, particularly when one hundred % federally funded summer feeding programs are available if local executive and communities apply for or utilize them. But more than one in fourth families with children are food insecure and struggling to hold food on the table. The federal Summer Nutrition Programs could assistance millions more children escape hunger this summer by providing meals if responsible adults act now. The necessity is urgent. Although 19.7 million children received free or reduced price lunches during the 2013-two thousand fourteen school year, only 3.2 million children – 16.2 % – participated in the Summer Nutrition Programs.

If local school boards, community groups, faith congregations, mayors, and county representatives act now, they should be able to get one hundred % federally funded Summer Nutrition Programs in their area or add more if there already are some summer food sites. The federal Summer Food Service Program and the “Seamless Summer” option offered through the National School Lunch Program are designed to replace the regular school year breakfast and lunch programs. Meals provided through the Summer Nutrition Programs also can link children without summer learning opportunities, camps or other costly options to educational and recreational programming to hold them learning, active and secure during school vacation. Summer feeding programs also create jobs for food preparers, servers, bus drivers and others.

Schools, community recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, places of worship, day and residential summer camps, housing projects, migrant centers, and Native American reservations are among places that can serve as summer feeding program sites. Many more sites are needed to fill the summer hunger gap for millions of children. Distant too many communities have number sites at all or have sites challenging for children without transportation to reach. Check in presently with your school officials, mayors and county executives to memorise what they're doing to prevent childhood hunger. Some questions to ask include:

  • How many children receiving school year breakfasts and lunches will be served by Summer Food Service Programs? What steps have they taken or will they get immediately to obtain more summer feeding sites up and running?
  • How are parents notified about free summer food options?
  • Are there district school buses that could be outfitted to deliver summer meals to inaccessible rural areas?
  • How many weekend and holiday snack backpacks are provided to children within the Summer Food Service Programs? Has your school district reached out to seek community support for these backpacks?
  • In districts with large percentages of children in housing projects, have you or local executive asked housing authorities to create sure they obtain food to hungry children?
  • Are faith communities and service organizations with kitchens in your community alert of the one hundred % federally funded resources and planning to allow summer meals this summer? Do they know about the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools® program that provides summer reading enrichment and food to stop summer learning loss and hunger among low-income children?

The Dept of Agriculture (USDA) has been working very tough to reach more children and is testing exciting new ways to assistance overcome barriers blocking summer meals for hungry children. Some communities are using mobile vans to transport meals. Others utilize electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to transfer money to assistance families purchase additional food for children in the summer. When 4.9 million households, including 1.4 million with children, had no cash income in monetary year 2014 and depended only on food stamps to stave off hunger, every public official, congregation, and school system needs to utilize every tool available to assistance hold children from going hungry over three long summer months.

Check the Summer Meals Toolkit on the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s Summer Feeding Service Program website to memorise more about becoming a Summer Snack Winner in your community or call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479. There is number reason why there should be a single hungry baby in America. Please act presently before the school year ends to authorize millions of children to get a genuine school vacation without hunger pains.

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