School is Out for Summer
The last day of school is an exciting time of year for students in anticipation of summer fun activities. My summer fun included playing kickball with friends, a family road trip, vacation bible school, amusement parks, swimming pool sports, family reunions and simply eating a slice of sweet watermelon. For some children, the excitement of summer is short lived because when school meals are not available to them, there is little or no food to eat.
Since 1975, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as the Summer Meals Program, was established to ensure that children 18 and younger from low-income areas would continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This is a federally-funded, state-administered program. Schools, local government agencies, camps, faith-based and other non-profit community organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program can be a sponsor. The serving sites may be located in a variety of settings, including schools, parks, community centers, health clinics, hospitals, apartment complexes, churches, and migrant centers.
According to the USDA, in 2016 SFSP provided meals to 2.8 million children each day at 48,619 sites during the program's peak month of July. Additionally, SFSP served more than 154 million meals during summer vacation. Unfortunately, transportation challenges associated with this program limit the amount of food that may be distributed to children during summer vacation. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/child-nutrition-programs/summer-food-service-program/
Bishop Michael Curry, the head of the Episcopalian Church in America, gave a riveting sermon at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19, 2018. He said, “Imagine our world when love is the way. No child would go to bed hungry ever again. When love is the way poverty would become history.” Bishop Curry and I believe, that love is a powerful force that can solve childhood hunger and transform the lives of children. Bishop Curry’s call to action for mankind is to sacrifice our life for the good of the others. That is love. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/style/bishop-michael-curry-royal-wedding.html
You can get involved and provide your time and talents to serve food insecure children this summer in the following ways:
Find a summer meals site close to you, volunteer or provide transportation. Go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks for more information.
Consider mobilizing your community to sponsor the program. It may be too late to be a sponsor for this year but you can plan for next year.
Manage a site by partnering with an existing SFSP agency.
Raise awareness about the program.
Love can transform these children’s summer by providing them with the nutritional foods necessary to improve their physical, educational, behavioral and emotional concerns that are associated with the lack of food.
"Let’s All Eat Together”