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For many kids, summertime means ice cream trucks, pools, family vacations, and camp. Unfortunately, summer also means there are low-income children who no longer have access to guaranteed meals from school. We make sure kids have lunch during the school year through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), but we also need to be certain that families have access to the same resources during summer.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federal food program that ensures that low-income children receive free and healthy meals during the months when schools are not in session. This program is a solution for families struggling to feed their children and provides free meals to all children eighteen years old and under at approved SFSP sites. Additionally, many summer nutrition sites that sponsor SFSP also allow children to participate in educational and recreational activities. The availability of meals at these locations often draws children to the activities offered. As a result, children receive healthy meals during the summer and are provided with positive activities in which they can engage.

All summer sites should maximize their resources, namely federal funding, and address the issue of hunger immediately to ensure that we meet the basic needs of our children. Many families are not even aware that help is available. We must increase the number of summer feeding sites in our communities to continue providing healthy meals all year long. Nutritious meals help kids concentrate and learn better in school, reduce overall hunger, and lead to improved well-being and daily nutrition. More access to our resources means that more kids can receive the healthy food they need.

Hunger exists, and it greatly affects our children’s well-being and success. We can reduce hunger for children by increasing awareness of these important federal food programs and adding more feeding sites to our communities.

For more information on what SFSP does, visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summer-food-service-program-sfsp


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