Nationally, more than 22 million children receive meals through the National School Lunch Program during the school year. But when school is out during the summer, the USDA Summer Food Service Program reaches less than 4 million kids.
To combat summer hunger, the Vermont Foodbank is distributing food to 225 food shelves and meal sites throughout the state. The Vermont Foodbank’s gleaning program is busy in the farm fields harvesting fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. The Vermont Foodbank’s VeggieVanGo program also distributes fresh produce to families with children year round.
“Hunger deprives kids of more than just food. It limits their ability to reach their full potential. On empty stomachs, kids don’t have the energy to focus, learn and grow,” said Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “Here in Vermont, 33,900 children face hunger. When they lose access to school meals during the summer months, it puts a tremendous burden on their families who might be struggling financially. At the Vermont Foodbank, we’re committed to ensuring that kids have access to the food they need year round, because summer should be fun and enriching for everyone.”
Feeding America’s latest research study, Map the Meal Gap 2017, which reports on the cost of food and level of food insecurity at both the county and congressional district levels, also determined that county-level child food-insecurity rates across the nation range from a high of 41 percent to a low of 6 percent.