Keep Kids Fed this Summer!

Keep Kids Fed this Summer!

Help spread the word! Summer Meal Program sites are now open across Virginia! Here in Virginia, one in seven children struggles with hunger.  During the school year, low-income children can receive up to three free or reduced priced meals each school day.  Unfortunately, the same options are not available during the summer months when only 16% of children who receive free/reduced meals during the school year receive no cost meals during the summer. Research shows that childhood hunger spikes during the summer and that struggling families spend $300 more per month to feed their children. 

In an attempt to fill the service gap and ensure children have access to nutritious meals during the summer, the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as the Summer Meals Program, provides children in low-income areas free meals when school is out.  The SFSP operates in communities around the Commonwealth during the summer months. Summer Meals Program meal sites are places in the community where children receive meals in a safe, supervised, group setting.

Last summer, at 1,500 sites in Virginia, over 3.5 million meals were served.  Many of those same sites as well as new sites will participate in the SFSP this summer.  While USDA does not require meal sites include other activities as part of the SFSP, educational enrichment and other activities are strongly encouraged.

We encourage you to promote the SFSP in your community.  Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) administers the SFSP through approximately 150 sponsors.  Various promotional materials are available on the VDOE website at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/nutrition/programs/sfsp.shtml. Additionally, in the coming weeks, the DSS will include a SFSP flyer in various SNAP, TANF and Energy Assistance customer correspondence.  A copy of the flyer is available at:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/nutrition/programs/resources/summer-meals-flyer-pdf.pdf

In addition to promoting the SFSP in your community, you may consider volunteering at local meal sites.  Sites often need volunteers to assist with meal service or to organize and participate in enrichment activities (reading, creating/facilitating games etc.).  To locate meal sites in your community, use the map/site finder at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

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