Hunger Not Taking a Summer Vacation
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Summer's almost here, and kids who get free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year still need to eat. A little-known federal program makes that possible.
The Summer Food Service Program operates at almost 500 sites around Connecticut. Some are set up at existing programs, while at others the main goal is just feeding kids, explains Dawn Crayco, child nutrition program and policy director for End Hunger Connecticut.
"Sometimes it means organizing activities, so there's an extra draw; it's really more like a loose recreation program than a place to go to get free food."
Last year the program served more than 33,000 meals each day in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Crayco says that may sound like a lot.
"While that seems like a large number, it's still only about a quarter of the kids that are receiving free or reduced-price meals during the school year, so there's a lot of work that can be done in that area."
The program must meet the same nutritional standards as the federal school lunch program, but Crayco points out that most school districts in the state go beyond that.
"Districts opt to serve foods that are part of the Connecticut nutrition standards, which are superior to the federal guidelines."
The program is carried out under the supervision of the state Department of Education.
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