Summer Food Service Program helps kids return to school healthy and ready to learn
During the school year, many families rely on Free and Reduced-Price Schools Meals to help feed their children nutritious food and stretch their food budgets. For example, if a child eats breakfast and lunch every day at school that’s ten meals a week, per child, that parents don’t have to worry about providing. However, school is only in session nine months out of the year and many families find it difficult to pay for the additional meal costs when school is out. As a result, summer can mean hungry bellies and malnutrition for many kids across Montana. Kids that do not receive adequate nutrition over the summer months are at a disadvantage when school starts again in the fall.
- Just 20% of the children receiving Free or Reduced-Priced School Lunch during the school year also receive Summer Food.
- Free and Reduced-Priced Meals during the school year reach 42,000 low-income children in Montana, while just 8,500 receive free meals through the Summer Food Service Program.
- As of summer 2015, 17 out of 56 counties in Montana had NO Summer Food site at all.
MFBN works to increase the number of Summer Food sites across the state, as well as increase participation at current sites. We bring together stakeholders (schools, non-profits, churches, etc.) in underserved communities to help recruit sponsors and develop new sites. We also provide outreach materials to all of our partner agencies and many other service providers throughout Montana to ensure that families know how to find feeding site. Through Child Nutrition Reauthorization and other legislative opportunities, we advocate for policies that protect this important program and help it work better in our state.
START A FOOD SITE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Does your community have a Summer Food site? Could it use one? We can help determine if your community is eligible for Summer Food and bring together potential key partners. Find more information about SFSP and starting a food site in your area.
For more information about Summer Food in Montana contact Oscar Peña, Public Policy Coordinator