Kelly Manufacturing



South Dakota Ag News Headlines
Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Vacation
By: Tony Hernandez and Bruce Jones, USDA in South Dakota - 05/24/2016

In 2015, about 22 million American children depended on free or reduced-price school lunches. When school lets out for the summer, many of these children do not get enough to eat and become a risk of all the health issues associated with hunger. Child poverty and hunger are persistent problems in rural America.

At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we work to address these problems every day. Our agency, the Rural Housing Service (RHS), finances affordable housing and community facilities for families and communities across the country (or something better if you have it), and our sister agency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), works to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing eligible low-income families access to healthy foods and nutrition education through its nutrition assistance programs. Together, our two agencies can do even more. For the past several years, we have been partnering to feed children when school is out for the summer.

With RHS guidance, 184 USDA-financed multi-family affordable rental communities participated in FNS' Summer Food Service Program last year. The program allows USDA to reimburse local sponsoring organizations for serving healthy, free meals to eligible low-income children age 18 and younger during the summer months when school is not in session. The participation of our multi-family housing communities allows us to bring these meals to the places where kids live. Local communities have an opportunity to play a big role in combating hunger and helping to promote good nutrition to its own residents.

Unfortunately, we were only making a dent in the challenge. While 191 million meals were served in the summer of 2015, only about one in five children participated in the Summer Food Service Program. This means more than 17 million children were still at risk of hunger. We must do more!

In partnership with rural America's affordable rental property owners and tenants, we will help the department feed as many hungry kids as possible this summer. For 2016, the Rural Housing Service has set a goal to increase our participation in the Summer Food Service Program by at last 50 percent. To achieve this goal, we need 276 properties to host summer feeding sites nationwide. We are committed to helping more kids have healthy food to eat -- let's get South Dakota sites committed to the cause!

The owners and managers of USDA-financed affordable rental housing help us feed more hungry kids in rural America. Together we make a difference! To sign up to host summer meals, go to www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/how-become-sponsor. Even if you're not a property owner or manager you or your organization can help USDA Rural Development and the Food and Nutrition Service feed more kids by visiting www.summerfood.usda.gov.

Send this article to a friend


Other South Dakota Headlines
Ag-Bag Plastic
Freudenthal Manufacturing
Copyright 2016 - USAgNet.com. All Rights Reserved.