Summer is a time where Feeding America has a great opportunity to work with food banks across our network to increase access to nutritious meals served to children, teens and adults along with digital outreach efforts, program participation and overall community engagement. During the school year, 22 million children receive free or reduced-price school meals through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. However, only one-fifth of those children currently participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Simply put – when children are out of school during the summer, they lose access to school meals, putting them at greater risk of hunger. It is important to build on the incredible work of the Feeding America network from previous summers to meet the need of children and families living in low-access and high-need areas throughout the United States.
Feeding America is committed to working with food banks across our network to ensure children and their families receive nutritious and well-balanced meals. Whether that is through SFSP, other programming such as the School Pantry or Backpack Programs, through other non-traditional distribution models like weekend farmer’s market style produce distributions, or monthly produce distributions delivered directly to the households of families in need, there are many ways to reach communities and individuals throughout the school year and summer months.
This summer Feeding America is working with a handful of food banks throughout our network to pilot a Google ad campaign to help families locate nearby feeding sites throughout the summer months ensuring children and families have access to nutritious meals. This digital engagement experience is a promising indicator that families across our network will be able to more easily access local nutritious meals.
Not only is Feeding America committed to ensuring children and their families receive nutritious meals throughout the summer months, our network is also committed to nutrition education through these efforts. Food banks are partnering with local organizations to distribute recipe cards to children attending summer feeding sites, hosting cooking courses for adults who have children participating in summer meals, inviting local health care representatives such as nurses, nutritionists or health coaches to speak to the children at their sites, and conducting events such as culinary camps at their sites as a way of encouraging, supporting and empowering children to take the lead when it comes to making healthy food choices.
Feeding America food banks provide services in every county of the United States and Puerto Rico through our network of 200 food banks and 60,000 local food pantries and programs. The organization is excited to continue fostering, leveraging and supporting food banks throughout our network to achieve their goals to provide nutritious, well-balanced meals to the children and families served.
Use Feeding America’s Food Bank Finder to locate a variety of services in your area if you are in need of summer meals for children or other food resources this summer.
Mya Price is the Program Associate for Children and Families. In this role, Mya assists food banks in finding ways to leverage their practices, resources and overall summer hunger programming by serving as the innovator, connecter and voice for children and families across the Feeding America network.