Advocacy Starts Locally! Identify Summer Food Resources in Your Area

One in five American children lives in food-insecure households, and they are most at risk during the summer when they don’t receive daily school breakfasts and lunches.

The federal Summer Food Service Program seeks to address summer hunger by offering free meals to all children under age 18. However, only a fraction of the children who receive free and reduced-price school lunches take part in the summer meals program.

If you know hungry children in your community, visit this website or call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to find the nearest summer meal site.

Federal and state governments and community organizations have been working together to remove barriers, such as lack of transportation to the sites, that may keep children from accessing these important programs. In 2014, an estimated 3.2 million children participated in the federal Summer Nutrition Programs, a 7% increase from previous years. This upward trend is promising, but there are still millions of children who may not be receiving adequate, nutritious meals during the summer.

You can start the conversation and contact your local representatives and community leaders. Become an advocate and ask these questions!

(From our friends at the Children’s Defense Fund)

  1. How many children receiving school breakfasts and lunches will be served by Summer Food Service Programs in your community? What steps have they taken or will they take immediately to get more summer feeding sites up and running?
  2. How are parents notified about free summer food options?
  3. Are there district school buses that could be outfitted to deliver summer meals to inaccessible rural areas?
  4. How many weekend and holiday meal backpacks are provided to children within the Summer Food Service Programs? Has your school district reached out to seek community support for these backpacks?
  5. In districts with large percentages of children in housing projects, have you or local officials asked housing authorities to make sure they get food to hungry children?
  6. Are faith communities and service organizations with kitchens in your community aware of the 100 percent federally funded resources and planning to provide 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?