A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Funding boost will enable more Kentucky children to receive free summer meals


 

A $40,000 increase in funding will enable the Kentucky Association of Food Banks to increase the number of low-income children receiving summer meals through the Summer Food Service Program, officials announced today.
 

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office will use $20,000 from the State Planning Fund to match a $20,000 private grant from Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger. The summer feeding program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
 

 (Photo from Kentucky Association of Foodbanks)

‘The Summer Food Service Program can make a huge difference for the hundreds of thousands of children in our state whose families struggle to afford enough food,’ said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. (Photo from KAFB)

Last summer in Kentucky, fewer than eight low-income children ate summer meals for every 100 who ate school lunch during the regular school year. Nationally, the ratio was 16 for every 100, an increase from the previous year.
 

“The First Lady and I are adamant about supporting the efforts to increase the number of Kentucky’s children who will be fed over the summer while part of an event at a school, a park or another public agency,” said Gov. Steve Beshear in making the announcement. “We are glad to match this private funding to strengthen the effects of these dollars across the state.”
 

The Kentucky Department of Education will hold events around the state to help raise awareness of the program, including:
 

· Wednesday, June 10, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Valley Branch, Lexington Public Library, 2185 Versailles Rd., Lexington
 

· Saturday, June 13, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, Barbourville Pool, 500Allison Ave., Barbourville

 

Throughout the coming weeks, the Summer Food Service Program will provide thousands of free meals and snacks to students 18-years-old and under at hundreds of locations throughout Kentucky.
 

The Kentucky Association of Food Banks is Kentucky’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing Kentucky’s seven regional Feeding America food banks and more than 800 member charities, including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
 

The funding will help the nonprofit organization convene public and private stakeholders to develop and implement a metrics-driven plan for expanding access to summer meals in Kentucky. Key activities will include ensuring strategic coordination of services, sharing knowledge and best practices among sponsors and launching a statewide awareness campaign.
 

“The Summer Food Service Program can make a huge difference for the hundreds of thousands of children in our state whose families struggle to afford enough food,” said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. “We are thrilled to be working with key partners to increase participation in the program, thereby reducing the number of missed meals for Kentucky children as well as missed federal dollars for the state.”
 

“We know the impact summer hunger can have on children and families in Kentucky,” said Jen Jinks, national No Kid Hungry campaign director at Share Our Strength. “When school meals disappear, kids experience anxiety and uncertainty and family budgets are stretched even further. That’s why we’re so happy about this additional funding to support the work of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. The summer meals program they provide is a critical resource to get kids through the summer. Too many of our kids are missing out on the chance to have a healthy meal every day.”
 

To find the nearest free meal site, call the National Hunger Hotline at (866) 3-HUNGRY or (877) 8-HAMBRE (Spanish), or click here. For other questions about the SFSP, call the Kentucky Department of Education, Division of School and Community Nutrition at 502-564-5625.
 

From Office of the Governor


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