The Spokane Spokesman-Review published an op ed on August 29th from our Senior Food Policy Coordinator, Linda Stone. The piece talked about the growing need for summer food programs at a time when budget cuts are forcing many such programs to shut down. Here's an excerpt:
While many of us think of summer as a time of bounty, overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables, for low-income families summer can be a time of deprivation. For thousands of children in these families, going back to school means a return to at least two solid meals a day.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The federal Summer Food Program was created to help curb childhood hunger by offering free meals during the dry months of summer. It’s a woefully underutilized program, though. Of the 280,000 Washington children who received free or reduced-price meals during the 2007-’08 school year, only 13 percent received meals during summer 2008. The numbers for this summer are shaping up to be about the same.