Campaign helps low-income families find food for kids in summer months
For children, summer should be all about spending more time with family and friends, with as little stress as possible.
But for many families, summer means more stress — especially when it comes to finances. That’s because kids who normally get a lunch or breakfast at school lose access to those meals when class lets out for summer break.
About 62 percent of low-income families spend more on food during the summer months, with an average increase of $300 more per month, according to a national survey by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Free summer meals are available to children 18 and under at thousands of summer meal sites across the country. However, while more than 21 million kids in the U.S. receive free and reduced-price school lunches, only about 3 million of them get a free summer meal. A lack of awareness about the program and access to summer meal sites contribute to the low participation.
As vital members of the school community, education support professionals know the importance of providing children with the food and nutrition they need year round. That’s why ESPs in Michigan are working with the No Kid Hungry campaign to raise awareness about the scores of summer meals sites throughout the state.
Go to NoKidHungry.org/SummerMeals, call 1-866-3HUNGRY or text “FOOD” to 877-877 to locate a site near you.
Many of the summer meal sites offer fun learning and recreational activities as well as free food, so kids and teens can stay active and spend time with friends. Sites are registered with the USDA and are held at safe local places such as schools, churches and community centers. Meals served are tasty, follow USDA nutrition guidelines and help families save money.
For more information about the No Kid Hungry campaign and to learn how to get involved, visit http://www.nokidhungry.org/summer.