Expanding the Table for Kids this Summer

For the more than 16 million children at risk of going hungry in the United States every day, summer break can be a tough time when it comes to finding a meal. With schools closed, kids on free and reduced lunch can’t count on three square meals a day.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) a federally funded program administered through the USDA office of Food and Nutrition (FNS) currently serves 3.5 million children each summer.

While this number is significant, it also means over 12 million kids aren’t eating lunch every day. The severity of the gap is frightening.

We can do better. We want to expand the table this summer to include more children. More tables need to be set. Many more children must be fed.

And, this is what we know: when government agencies, faith based groups and NGOs band together to support summer food service programs, the story changes. More children eat.

We’ve learned from FNS that Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites almost always organize on a grassroots level. Faith communities hold particular and bring unique value to this process.

Often faith groups host these program sites as part of their summer camps and classes for kids. Lunch is often built into already existing community programming. It’s a win, win for the organization and the children.

IMG_5506And so, to bolster these efforts, Feed the Children needs your help. We’d like to chat with you about how we can encourage more groups, in particular faith groups, to become a part of the Summer Food Service program.

Though it is only January, the time to organize is now. So that in June, more kids can count on three squares.

Tomorrow FNS will host a free webinar called, “Summer Meals: Engaging Faith Based and Neighborhood Groups.” If you’d like to join in the conversation with some thought leaders like Melissa Rogers, the Special Assistant to the President, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith Based Partnerships, here’s more information.

And, to build on the momentum of this conversation, Feed the Children would like invite you to join us in a Twitter Town Hall on Tuesday, February 3rd.

In collaboration with the White House Office of Faith Based Partnerships and USDA Food and Nutrition Service, we’d like you to talk with us about how we can feed more children in the US this summer.

Here’s what you need to know:

What: Twitter Town Hall

When: Tuesday, February 3rd, 1-2 pm EST

Who:

  • Members of faith communities who have participated in a summer meal program,
  • Faith leaders who want to participate in a summer meal program
  • Anyone who feels it is an injustice that kids go without food during the summer

Where: #expandingthetable

Why: Because 12. 5 million children without lunch this summer is unacceptable

See you online @feedthechildren on Tuesday.