On average, only one in ten of the low-income children in Ohio who participate in the National School Lunch Program participates in a summer nutrition program.
By helping to increase attendance in the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch Program, Children’s Hunger Alliance helps provide access to a consistent source of healthy food throughout the summer. We also conduct public awareness campaigns to reach out to families with information about summer meal sites, which can alleviate some of the economic difficulties low-income families face during the summer months.
When combined with summer enrichment programming, summer meals can enhance children’s development and reduce summer learning loss. Low-income students tend to fall behind on measure of academic achievement over the summer, losing two months of grade-level equivalency in math and more than two months in reading achievement.
Summer nutrition programs serve as a bridge to fill the summer meal gap that so many children face each year, and also helps attract more children and teens to the summer enrichment programming needed to reduce summer learning loss.
Increasing participation reduces food insecurity, poor nutritional intake, and the incidence of childhood obesity in Ohio, making the next generation healthier and better prepared for the beginning of their next school year.
Children’s Hunger Alliance has limited grant funds to help local programs expand their summer nutrition programs.