June 1, 2015
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
Nebraska participation in Summer Food Program slightly increased in 2014
National study shows state has more work to do feeding kids in summer months
LINCOLN — Participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) slightly improved in Nebraska in 2014 according to a nationwide survey released today, meaning more kids in our state from low-income families struggled to find nutritious meals during the summer months.
However, Nebraska’s bottom-ten ranking in ensuring low-income children have access to food in the summer, shows we have much more work to do to fight hunger.
According to the report, “Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation,” released by the Food Research and Action Center, about 300 more Nebraska children per day got meals through the Summer Food Service Program in 2014 than in 2013 representing a 2.7 percent increase.
Nebraska lags behind nationally in summer food participation, which saw a 7 percent increase in the U.S. in 2014. Nebraska ranks 43rd out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in feeding children during the summer, measured as a percentage of kids receiving summer food who also qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches.
Read the full report: “Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation”
“Policymakers, state agencies, and organizations around the state are working hard to ensure our kids are getting enough to eat in the summer months, but this new report shows Nebraska has more work to do,” said James Goddard, director of Nebraska Appleseed’s Economic Justice Program. “When the school year ends, thousands of Nebraska kids stop receiving regular, nutritious meals. We are a stronger state when all of our kids get adequate food during the summer and return to school in the fall healthy and ready to learn.”
It’s not too late for Nebraska communities to make a difference to feed more kids in need. Organizations can learn more about starting or supporting summer food programs from Nebraska Department of Education, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has a Summer Meals Toolkit to help organizations learn about supporting summer food participation at any level of program administration.
Policymakers also have an important role to play in reducing child hunger during the summer months, Goddard said.
“When our Nebraska delegation considers reauthorization of summer feeding programs in Congress this summer, it should consider improvements that will allow more of our kids to get the food they need,” Goddard said. “We urge them to support a lower area eligibility threshold, which would allow more low-income children to access meals. They also should streamline administrative requirements to reduce paperwork for sponsors and allow sites to serve three meals per day.”
To find a Nebraska summer food site visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks.