Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said this week, "Summer break shouldn’t mean a break from good nutrition." In a press release, the Senator highlighted the need for more awareness about summer feeding programs and their availability.
During the school year needy children across the nation receive free or reduced price lunches. When summer comes children lose access to these meals as schools are closed. Many children do not receive meals unless alternative feeding programs are provided.
The availability of summer feeding sites is one of the problems. In Cincinnati, Ohio the public library system is among those stepping forward to provide feeding sites. Innovation among local organizations can help bridge the gap on summer feeding.
In addition, some families are unaware of summer food programs in their area. Public announcements on summer feeding are therefore crucial.
The Food Action and Research Center says the summer feeding gap is starting to close. In a report this week the organization said that last summer 161,000 more children received summer feeding. The total of children receiving summer meals now stands at around 3 million a summer. However, that is still far short of the 21.5 million children that free or reduced price lunch during the school year.
FRAC President Jim Weill says, "Summer meals are moving in a positive direction, but we need to accelerate progress. Summer meals only are reaching one in seven low-income children. States and cities should continue to build on their successes so we can keep reducing the summer hunger gap.”