Program to help children in hunger this summer
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children eating healthy while school is out. During the school year, 27,000 McLennan County children participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides healthy free meals to children 18 years and younger during the summer months. Sponsors provide meals at sites throughout the community through school districts, food vendors and on-site preparation.
In 2010, only about 3,000 participated in the SFSP. Help get the word out and increase participation in 2011. As co-chair of the Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County, Waco Mayor Jim Bush has partnered with Commissioner Todd Staples to remind citizens that hunger doesn’t take a summer break.
“Feeding our kids during the summer is essential for their health and success. We know without the summer meals program kids will be eating whatever they can find, their health will suffer and they will not be ready to learn in the fall,” said Mayor Jim Bush.
As part of this initiative, volunteers are being recruited to help increase public awareness of the many locations where free meals and fun activities will be served. The McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) and the Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County (FPTF) have seen an increase in volunteers for this summer.
Rev. Kenneth Moerbe, co-chair of the FPTF and chair of MCHC knows that congregations are particularly vital in providing volunteers.
“We want to thank the multiple congregations who have already signed up to help by providing activities at sites, becoming meal sites, and telling their congregants and partners about the SFSP. People of faith have a natural affinity for helping hungry children – they just need to know about the opportunity,” said Moerbe.
Many more volunteers are still needed to help publicize summer sites throughout the county. Volunteers are always welcome and critical to the success of this summer nutrition program. Volunteers can assist with transportation, outreach, business processes, providing enrichment activities and serving meals directly to the children. Businesses can place information in company break rooms and at staff meetings.
“It takes the entire community – children, parents, people of faith, business leaders – to make sure that our future generations are getting the nutrition they require. Greater Waco is known for our philanthropic nature – let’s make sure our youngest citizens are receiving adequate nutrition this summer,” said Bush.
We are sponsoring a week of outreach to help publicize summer sites – June 4-12. Find site locations by:
1. Go to www.mclennanhunger.org/summersites to find McLennan County sites and days and hours of operation.
2. Go to www.SummerFood.org and click on the link “Eat Right Find a Site!” to find the site nearest you.
3. Call 2-1-1 and they will provide the sites nearest you. Join us for a community block walk June 11 in your neighborhood – share the information with your neighbors about sites closest to them. Pass out community flyers in your house of worship or at your business (available at www.mclennanhunger.org/summersites) .
The Food Planning Task Force and McLennan County Hunger Coalition are a diverse group of organizations, businesses and individuals working together to end hunger in McLennan County.
- Get your family involved this summer
- FREE SUMMER FUN for KIDS
- Summer vacation and your credit: What you should know
- Waco, TX, October 4, 2010. “Help Make Your Day!”
- Teaching Children Basic Life Skills: The ABC’s of Toddler Curriculum