By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
According to the Capital Area Food Bank, 641,000 D.C. residents are at risk or currently experience hunger and 200,000 of them are children. Many low-income Washingtonians can count on their children’s school to feed them throughout the school year. However, with school out for the summer, D.C. organizations are making a concerted effort to remind residents there are places for people under the age of 18 to receive free meals.
The District ranked first in ensuring children had access to meals when school is out, according to a report on Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), known in the District as the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program (DC FSMP), provides food to children 18 and under in low-income areas. Low-income areas are neighborhoods where 50 percent or more of the households receive free and reduced priced meals during the school year.
In agreement with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), during the summer, the Department of Parks and Recreation oversees sites for children to participate in the DC FMSP. The locations include participating schools, recreation centers, public libraries, faith-based organizations, Housing Authority locations and day care centers.
In addition, organizations like D.C. Hunger Solutions, which works to eradicate hunger in the District, are also working to supplement meals. D.C. Hunger Solutions teamed with Arcadia Mobile Market, which provides food insecure communities with fresh-locally grown produce year round, to go to DC FMSP sites and offer fresh meals at various locations.
As the summer continues, D.C. Public Schools, D.C. Hunger Solutions and the USDA SFSP are all reminding Washingtonians through social media about the importance of taking advantage of the free meals.
Free breakfast and lunch is available to all children ages 18 and younger across the city all summer long! Find your nearest school site with dates and meal times with the DC Summer Food Finder tool at https://t.co/muB0Aphzsu. #Meals4DCKids pic.twitter.com/xJm6oVz7Ab
— DC Public Schools (@dcpublicschools) July 9, 2018