With summer’s arrival, officials at the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are preparing for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines are provided to all children 18 years old and under at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.
Our offices recently hosted a nationwide conference call to thank faith and community leaders for their work in this area and to inform them about efforts surrounding the SFSP this summer. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off the call, challenging community leaders to strive for an aggressive, but attainable goal: serving an additional 10 million meals over the course of the summer to better reach our children in need. Secretary Vilsack discussed the need for children to be well-nourished, an essential part of our commitment to helping children learn and thrive.
Executive Director of “Let’s Move!” Sam Kass also joined the call to reinforce the message that our concerted efforts are vital to the success of summer feeding efforts. Callers were encouraged to rely on resources like the new USDA summer meals toolkit and websites that educate parents about their families’ options.
To discuss how to further amplify this call to action and for more information, visit www.summerfood.usda.gov. For more information on actual sites where SFSP meals are being served, click here to find summer sites serving meals. Alternatively, you may call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) to find a free, nutritious summer meal site near you. And for additional information on USDA partnerships, please visit www.usda.gov/partnerships.
A special thanks to all of those who are committed to the success of SFSP 2014 and to helping children have a happy and healthy summer.
Melissa Rogers is Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Norah Deluhery directs USDA’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.