As the school year comes to an end and summer vacation begins, many low-income children lose access to school breakfasts, lunches, and afterschool snacks and meals. The federally funded Summer Nutrition Programs fill this gap by providing children with nutritious meals and snacks across the country, including schools, parks, rec centers, housing complexes, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, houses of worship, and more.
However, the programs remain underutilized, and FRAC is expanding outreach, improving public policies, and engaging in partnerships to increase participation. During July 2016, the Summer Nutrition Programs served three million children (pdf) – which means only 1 in 7 children who ate a free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2015–2016 school year participated in the summer program.
To ensure more children have access to nutritious meals this summer, please share the resources below with your constituent services staff in order to locate sites in your district:
- USDA National Hunger Hotline
The USDA National Hunger Hotline operates from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Eastern and provides information about food resources in communities, including summer meals for children 18 years and younger in low-income communities. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to speak with a representative who will find food resources near your constituents’ location. This USDA resource is currently operated by Hunger Free America.
- Summer Meals Site Finder
Use this USDA resource to enter addresses and find the summer meals site nearest to constituents.
- No Kid Hungry
No Kid Hungry developed a system with USDA where constituents text “food” to 877-877 (or “comida” for a reply in Spanish) for information regarding summer food sites. The information relayed back to the constituent is based on the zip code or address the constituent provides.
To get ready for next year, find out how to successfully prepare, promote, and execute the Summer Nutrition Programs with these step-by-step guides, and identify eligible communities with FRAC’s Summer Food Mapper. More information is available in the Summer Nutrition Programs section, or contact Signe Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org or Clarissa Hayes, CHayes@frac.org.