Hunger Doesn't Take A Summer Vacation
By Kaye Knudson, Education Program Administrator, SNPManager
Many children suffer from a summer vacation “nutrition gap.” Does your school district provide meals to children in your community during the summer? Local schools are the best sites for summer feeding efforts. Children and parents are familiar with local schools and schools are known for providing nutritious food in a safe environment. If your school enrollment data indicates that at least 50 percent of the students are eligible for free/reduced priced meals or if the school is located in a census eligible area, it qualifies your school to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Schools can sponsor a SFSP, be a summer feeding site, or both.
In recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has undertaken several initiatives to attract additional SFSP sponsors, particularly schools, and to build partnerships to assist current or potential sponsors to educate and encourage other partners, parents, community leaders, government officials and non-profit organizations on all levels on the need for the SFSP in our state.
If you sponsored the SFSP last year, consider expanding your program to add sites or extend the duration of the program. If you are not a current sponsor, consider becoming one. The Department of Public Instruction’s Child Nutrition staff have facilitated partnership meetings across the state to assist schools, churches, Parks and Recreation programs, YMCA’s, private non-profits and other community organizations to build and expand programs. If you are interested in holding a partnership meeting in your community, please contact Kaye Knudson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can learn more about the USDA Summer Meals Programs by visiting: www.summerfood.usda.gov. These programs need champions. Please help us feed more children in your community when school is not in session by being a champion for summer meals.