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Indiana Department of Education to Feed Hungry Children Through USDA Summer Food Service Program
INDIANAPOLIS - During the school year, more than one million Indiana children receive the benefit of the National School Lunch Program, which provides the opportunity of free or reduced meal rates for low income families.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The program allows Schools, parks and recreation departments, and private nonprofits such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club to provide meals and snacks in areas where more than fifty percent or more of children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Sites can also be located at low-income housing complexes, parks, churches, and other places where children congregate during the summer. Summer food programs help lower income students return to school ready to learn and help parents stretch their food dollars at home during the summer months.
“Feeding programs are vital to education. Hungry kids cannot learn or retain knowledge effectively,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. “Good nutrition is essential for learning in school, but hunger does not take a summer vacation. I am honored to have the Indiana Department of Education actively involved in these programs. They are critical to the well-being of Indiana’s children.”
Open community sites provide free meals and snacks to children in the community under 18 with no enrollment requirements for the children to participate. Nationally, only 1 in 7 children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year continue to receive meals during the summer months.
“The Summer Food Service Program provides needed support in order for us to offer safe and nutritious meals during the summer months. Through this program we are able to supplement our children’s summer meals with much needed food items such as milk, vegetables, and fresh fruit,” said John C. Etling, Agency Director for Catholic Charities Terre Haute, and a member of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, the state association of food banks.
You can find summer meal sites near you by visiting the IDOE website at www.doe.in.gov/nutrition/summer-food-service-program, or by calling 211.
About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks (formerly America’s Second Harvest). Our eleven member food banks serve more than 1,700 agencies in all 92 counties, providing emergency food assistance to Hoosiers in need.
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. food banks statewide include:
- Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Gary
- Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend
- Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette
- Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne
- Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie
- Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
- Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
- Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
- Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
- Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
- Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH