Food Access Challenges Rise in Summer
Most kids can’t wait until school is out for summer. But for Minnesota’s food-insecure children and teens, summer can be a time to dread. The subsidized breakfasts and lunches they get in school, and the out-of-school-time snacks and dinners provided in other locations, aren’t available when school is out.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Minnesota Department of Education, reimburses providers who serve healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas at no charge during the months when school is not in session. HIP partners with MDE and sponsor organizations like Providers Choice that provide technical assistance, monitoring, outreach, and administrative support. Together we pursue innovative ways of closing the SFSP meal gap. (By our calculations, only 15 percent of available summer meals are being eaten. Only 3 million of 20.4 million meals are reaching kids. If there were all consumed, the reimbursement revenue to feeding sites would be $33 million.)
A New Way to Access Food
Hunger Impact Partners used its data-focused skills and insights to empower Summer Eats Minnesota, a new mobile phone app that came on line in summer 2017. Summer Eats Minnesota is an easy way to locate free and nutritious summer meals for kids up to age 18. Find a nearby site (guided by GPS), show up at the right time, and eat. No
registration or prior sign-up necessary. The app even tells you what the site will be serving that day!
Summer Eats Minnesota guides kids and their caregivers to parks, recreation centers, community centers, schools, and other open sites. Kids shouldn’t miss meals when they’re not in school.