MT Summer Meal Programs Fight Childhood Hunger
Monday, June 18, 2018
HELENA, Mont. — Summer can be a difficult time for hungry children. In Montana, about one-in-six children lives in a food insecure household where they aren’t sure how they will get their next meal.
Lorianne Burhop, chief policy officer with the Montana Food Bank Network, said while that number has gone down, any number above zero is worthy of concern. For families who rely on school to provide breakfast and lunch for kids, summer means having to provide 10 extra meals per week.
Burhop said that can be tough - particularly in addition to other costs, such as day care. And then there's the cost to children when they're hungry.
"It can have a harmful effect on physical health, mental health, academic achievement. It really can have long-term consequences for our kids,” Burhop said. “So making sure throughout the summer months, when kids lose access to the school meal program, that they still have access to consistent, quality meals is really important."
Across the country, the United States Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program works to combat hunger in the months when kids are away from school. It has more than 90 sponsors throughout Montana, including schools, nonprofits and churches.
There still are some Montana communities without sites, Burhop said, but the program continues to grow. To find a site nearby, Montanans can text "summer meals" to 97779 or visit fns.usda.gov.
Burhop said another key component in keeping children fed is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
"SNAP is really our most important anti-hunger program at any time of the year,” she said. “SNAP helps around 60,000 Montana households keep food on the table each month."
SNAP has become a linchpin in the debate over this year's Farm Bill. A House version of the bill that would have required strict work requirements for recipients failed in May.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis is promising to block any state money from going to the parent company of ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's unless …
LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas is trying to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness to get to their appointments with social service agencies by in…
BILLINGS, Mont. - Montanans are being challenged this month to eat locally grown foods, every day of August. The Northern Plains Resource Council is …
Health and Wellness
SEATTLE - Speaking to folks who are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine has gained a new sense of urgency as the Delta variant pushes cases up…
MINNEAPOLIS - Cities such as Minneapolis are getting attention over waves of gun violence in recent months. A statewide group hopes a new documentary …
FARGO, N.D. -- The people behind efforts to recall four Fargo School Board members have until August 25th to collect signatures. Ahead of that …
By Katie Fleischer for Ms. MagazineBroadcast version by Lily Böhlke for Tennessee News Service/Public News Service NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- School bells will soon ring, and Ohio county Children Services agencies are doing what they can to make the transition back to …