Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Lunch Program

Judy Pasternak, a writer/reporter, published an insightful article with on the benefits and challenges of the Summer Lunch Program in the U. S.

It is definitely worth a read. Central Dallas Ministries' involvement with the lunch program over the past several years has placed us up close to the lives and struggles of very low-income children and families.

This summer, our Food on the Move initiative that teamed up with PepsiCo's Food for Good effort, CDM AmeriCorps and the Texas Department of Agriculture to feed over 16,000 children more than 500,000 meals at 209 locations in Dallas County--more than twice as many as last year. PepsiCo's mobile capacity allowed us to extend into areas where children live without the benefit of organized summer programs. Clearly, we were reaching some of the most hungry children in our community.

Pasternak's report is revealing.

Record Number of US Kids Facing Summer of Hunger

AOL News WASHINGTON (June 16) -- With the school year ending in communities across America, more than 16 million children face a summer of hunger.

While classes were in session, they relied on free or discount cafeteria meals subsidized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But they will not be reached by the patchwork summer food programs financed by the USDA, which feed fewer than one in five of the total number of kids poor enough to qualify.

The children caught in the gap will likely spend the next few months cadging leftovers from neighbors, chowing down on cheap junk, lining up with their families at food banks that are already overmatched or simply learning to live with a constant headache, growling stomach and chronic fatigue. When school rolls around again in the fall, they will be less healthy and less ready to learn than their peers.

To read the entire report click here.

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