Four Central Texas Mayors Join CAFB in Making this a Happy, Healthy Summer

May 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Correction: Client story and photo removed.

When implemented properly, federal nutrition programs respond well to seasonal increase in demand for food assistance. In Central Texas, the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free nutritious summer meals and snacks to children in households with income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty guideline,  is having a tough time reaching children in need.

The Summer Nutrition Status report released in July 2009 by the Food and Research Action Center revealed that on an average week day in July 2007, the Summer Food Service Program provided meals to more than 164,000 children in Texas. This is only 7.41 percent of the 2,213,000 children receiving free- and reduced-price lunch during the 2007-2008 school year.

In Central Texas, participation is not much better than the state average. In our Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report 7.1 percent of households with at least one child younger than age 18 reported that they participate in the Summer Food Service Program.  Nearly one third of those households said they don’t participate in the program because they didn’t know about it.

Clearly, Texas has a serious under-participation problem, and is consequently leaving millions of dollars on the table.  If Texas was to achieve even 40 percent participation in the Summer Food Service Program, the state could receive $38,444,674 in federal funding.

On the Road to Happy Healthy Summer in Central Texas

To improve Texas’ ranking as the state with  47th worst participation levels, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples launched the “Summer Meals Mayor’s Challenge” . The challenge encourages mayors to support local Summer Food Service Program sponsors by raising awareness about program sites;  providing outreach to local school districts, faith-based organizations, and non-profits; and working with city council and other elected officials to make this program a success.

Thank you to the Central Texas mayors participating in the challenge:

Austin – Mayor Lee Leffingwell

Smithville – Mayor Mark Bunte

Thorndale – Mayor Billy E. Simank

Waco – Mayor Virginia DuPuy

CAFB supports the Summer Food Service Program

CAFB is hosting 20 Summer Food Service Program sites in Travis county in addition to our ongoing programs serving children in need.   We pledge to make this a “Happy, Healthy Summer” so families like Irma Olea’s will not have to struggle in the summer months and children just like Jordan, Victoria and Emily in the video below can receive nourishing meals this summer.

How you can help

Advocate

The Summer Food Service Program is one of the many federal programs up reauthorization  as part of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization ActSend a letter to your congressperson to provide adequate funding, administrative improvements, and ensure children in rural and urban areas can access the program  Customize your letter with the information you just learned.

Stay in Touch

Sign up at HungerisUnacceptable.com to learn how you can make a difference this summer and year long.

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