In Delaware 129,395 children receive meals during the school year through the free or reduced-price lunch program. When school ends for the summer so does lunch for many youngsters. Unfortunately, only 27 percent of eligible students receive meals through summer feeding programs.
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To help bridge the nutrition gap this summer, the Food Bank of Delaware will sponsor the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). SFSP is a federally-funded program operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and locally by the Delaware Department of Education.
Beginning June 20 the Food Bank will prepare and distribute free meals to qualified children’s feeding sites throughout the state. Sites include faith-based organizations, summer camps, daycares and other centers where children congregate during the summer months. For the second year the program will also be extended to low-income neighborhoods. To host a neighborhood program, an adult must contact the Food Bank for an application to determine eligibility, attend a training session and submit weekly paperwork.
To qualify for free meals, sites must operate in low-income areas where at least half of the children (up to 18 years of age) are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. There are no fees associated with the program, and meals are available for delivery seven days a week.
“With skyrocketing gas and food prices, thousands of Delawareans are struggling to make ends meet,” said Patricia Beebe, Food Bank of Delaware President & CEO. “And with summer right around the corner, thousands of Delaware children will have difficulties accessing nutritious foods without the much-needed free and reduced-price school lunch program. No child should go hungry over the summer months. We encourage all eligible community organizations and groups to get involved this summer in helping to alleviate childhood hunger by signing up as a summer nutrition site.”
Children can expect to see a menu of healthy, kid-friendly foods including peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, apples, yogurt, milk, juice and more.
Check out the Food Bank of Delaware Events for opportunities to help.