It’s almost summertime. This season evokes images of freedom, sunlight, and children running through sprinklers and biking through the neighborhood for a day at the pool. These coming months bring the promise of new experiences and friendships as children continue to learn and explore outside of the classroom. Summertime is an important period of learning and growth, yet many children do not experience a fulfilling summer because they’re too hungry to enjoy it.
At the end of the school year, many children who formerly participated in the National School Lunch Program abruptly lose access to their daily meals. Summer meal programs already successfully operate in some areas of the country, yet in 2012, only 14% of children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program participated in these summer feeding programs. Millions of school age children suffer a major gap in their meal coverage during the summer, putting them at risk for underdeveloped social skills, weak academic achievement, and long-term health problems.
The Episcopal Church supports adequate funding for programs that combat social and economic conditions which place children at risk, or that diminish children’s ability to achieve their full potential in the world. The Church also stands in strong solidarity with federal nutrition programs and the populations that they serve.
Urged by our General Convention and inspired by our faith, let’s #SaveSummer for hungry children by increasing enrollment in summer meal programs and promoting access to nutritious food throughout the coming months. Wondering where to begin? Here are three concrete actions that you can take today:
- Publicize summer meal programs in your community through Sign up to participate in a Twitter Thunderclap on June 3rd to promote awareness for summer meal programs.
- Click to contact your Senator below and ask them to support the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). This bill ensures that more kids consistently receive meals during summer months by providing eligible families with an EBT card to purchase groceries, replacing the school meals that their children would otherwise receive during the academic year.
Enter your information below to send this letter to your Senator today!
As an Episcopalian and your constituent, I am deeply concerned by the lack of access to summer meal programs for children. In 2012 alone, only 14% of children eligible for free or reduced school lunches participated in summer meal programs. Millions of school age children suffer a major gap in their meal coverage during the summer, putting them at risk for underdeveloped social skills, weak academic achievement, and long-term health problems.
Senator Patty Murray’s Stop Child Summer Hunger Act would help to change this, and is a common-sense approach to ensure that more hungry children have consistent access to meals throughout the summer. This legislation would assist families in buying groceries to replace the regular meals that their kids would otherwise receive throughout the academic year, and is based on a successful pilot project that reduced hunger among children by approximately 33%.
The Summer Food Service Program effectively decreases hunger in some parts of the United States, yet many obstacles to participation continue to exist. The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act is a part of the solution to ensure that children receive adequate nutrition throughout the summer months.
The Episcopal Church supports adequate funding for programs that combat social and economic conditions which place children at risk, or that diminish children’s ability to achieve their full potential in the world. Our children should not have to experience a summer of uncertainty, and deserve access to year-round nutrition so that they may grow into healthy, successful members of our community. I urge you to stand up for hungry children across the U.S. this summer by supporting the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act.