Children and youth in St. Louis County need your help. Hunger is an issue that doesn’t take a vacation. Did you know there are places throughout St. Louis County that serve free meals throughout the summer to all kids and teens 18 and under? Summer is right around the corner and the County Youth Programs division of the St. Louis County Department of Human Services is currently seeking locations to assist in feeding kids this coming summer when school is out.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides free, nutritious meals to children age 18 and under during the summer months when school lunch and breakfast programs are not operating. During the summer of 2014, while school was out, the program provided over 18,000 meals to kids at multiple locations throughout St. Louis County. Meals were served at Churches, Community Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs and the Salvation Army, just to name a few. Most are staffed with volunteers willing to give up a portion of their day to help fight hunger. Will you?
An organization called No Kid Hungry states, “For many kids, summer vacation is a much deserved reward for a year of hard work in the classroom. For some who rely on free and reduced-price school meals, however, the summer months can be difficult. When school is out, these kids no longer have access to school meals and their families’ budgets are often stretched to the breaking point. In fact, studies show that kids are at a higher risk for both obesity and hunger during the summer months.” Despite all of the benefits of summer meals programs, they are severely underutilized. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) only 8% percent of kids in Missouri who eat free or reduced-price school meals also receive meals during the summer.
How can you help? If you know of an organization that would like to get involved with the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) this coming summer, please contact Brian Wieher with St. Louis County Department of Human Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-615-3781 for more information.