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USDA Program Fights Hunger In The Summer

WASHINGTON – USDA today announced the recipients of grants to improve the delivery of nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer months. The grants will be used to test innovative alternatives to enable children from low-income households to access healthy food during the summer and will boost participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides meals to children from low-income households during summer months.

"Hunger doesn't end when the school bell rings and gap periods, like the summer months, often present nutritional challenges to children from low-income households," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA's Summer Food Service Program, with support from vital partners in our communities, ensures that healthy foods are available throughout the year to help youth reach their full potential and win the future."

Four sponsors in New York, Massachusetts and Delaware were chosen to receive funds to implement the Home Delivery demonstration project, while 16 sponsors in Arizona, Ohio and Kansas were selected to implement the Food Backpacks demonstration project.

The Home Delivery demonstration project will provide funding to develop ways to deliver summer meals to eligible children in rural areas at a sustainable cost. For example, the Cape Cod YMCA will develop delivery routes in rural Barnstable, Massachusetts and will deliver up to two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals to approximately 100 children each day. The meals will include a variety of nutritious foods including low-fat milk, locally grown fruits and vegetables and fresh or frozen entrees that are easy to prepare. The following organizations were selected to operate similar home delivery demonstration projects:

Home Delivery Demonstrations

Delaware Department of Education $404,216

  • Food Bank of Delaware, Newark/Milford

New York State Education Department $201,356

  • Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Elmira
  • North Rose-Wolcott Central School District, Wolcott

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education $272,949

  • YMCA of Cape Cod, West Barnstable

The Food Backpack demonstration will supplement the traditional SFSP by providing food to children for use on days when meals are not available at SFSP sites, typically weekends. For example, Central Unified School District serving four rural communities in Kansas, provides lunches during the summer in Atlanta, Burden, Cambridge and Grenola Kansas. This summer, they will begin providing food backpacks at the sites on Thursdays to approximately 75 children per week. The backpacks will contain three days worth of shelf stable breakfast and lunch foods such as milk, juices, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna, and individual canned entrees. Preparation instructions and menu serving suggestions will also be provided. The following organizations were selected to operate similar food backpack demonstration projects:

Food Backpack Demonstrations

Arizona Department of Education $328,232

  • Chandler Unified School District, Chandler
  • Mesa Public Schools, Mesa
  • Litchfield Elementary School District, Litchfield Park

Ohio Department of Education $329,725

  • Andrews House, Inc., Delaware
  • Community Action Organization of Scioto County, Portsmouth
  • Hamilton Living Water Ministry, Inc.
  • Whole Again International, Cincinnati
  • Hocking Athens Perry Community Action Agency, Logan
  • Ashtabula County Children Services, Ashtabula

Kansas State Department of Education $246,173

  • Central Unified School District 462, Burden
  • Lawrence Public Schools Unified School District 497, Lawrence
  • Gardner Edgerton Unified School District, Gardner
  • Arkansas City Unified School District 470, Arkansas City
  • United Methodist Church, Wilson
  • Topeka Public Schools, Topeka
  • East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corp (ECKAN), Ottawa

Begun as a pilot program in 1968, today's Summer Food Service Program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months and long vacation periods for schools on year-round schedules. Program sponsors, which include schools, government agencies, residential and non-residential camps and faith-based organizations, served nearly 134 million meals at eligible sites in 2010.

Improving child nutrition is also a focal point of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that was signed by President Obama on December 13, 2010. This legislation reauthorizes USDA'S child nutrition programs, including the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program, which serves nearly 32 million children each day. It will allow USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger.


STORY TAGS: USDA , Summer Food Service Program



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