Resources for families: WithinReach allows you to search for summer meal sites in your neighborhood by zip code. For questions about the Summer Meals Program or the Basic Food Program, call The Family Food Hotline (toll-free) at 1.888.436.6392.
There are hungry kids in every county in Washington during the summer
367,000 families in Washington face the threat of hunger every day; 452,076 schoolkids get free or reduced price meals during the school year. Many of them rely on the federal Summer Food Service Program (Summer Meals) that provides free meals and snacks to children and teens to ensure they have enough to eat when school is out.
What is the Summer Food Service Program?
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded child nutrition program that provides reimbursement to local organizations that provide free, nutritious meals to low-income children when school-year meal programs are not available. Most programs can offer up to two meals per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or snacks.
The SFSP is vital for many low-income children. Free school breakfasts and lunches provide these children with up to 75% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for key nutrients. When school is out, these meals are lost and may not easily be replaced by families struggling to make ends meet. SFSP fills a crucial gap, helping to ensure that students return to school ready to learn because they have had access to the nutritious meals they need to grow and thrive through the summer months.
The SFSP is severely underutilized. 42% of all Washington students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals, yet in summer of 2009, only 11% of students regularly receiving subsidized school meals participated in the summer meal program. Four counties had not a single summer meal site. The program also is severely under-utilized by older youth and by children in rural areas. The average program in 2009 served meals only 30 out of approximately 60 weekdays during the summer.
Your organization or school can help feed kids through the Summer Meals program
Organizations that want to sponsor a Summer Meals program work with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to get training, information and support throughout the spring and summer.
Learn more at parenthelp123.org.