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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

education

Government programs feeds low-income kids after school term

During the school year, more than 1 million Indiana children receive the benefit of the National School Lunch Program, a federal program that provides children living in a low-income family free or reduced lunch.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals even when school is not in session.

“The Summer Food Service Program provides needed support in order for us to offer safe and nutritious meals during the summer months,” Agency Director for Catholic Charities in Terre Haute John C. Etling said in a press release.

“Through this program we are able to supplement our children’s summer meals with much needed food items such as milk, vegetables and fresh fruit.”

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks.

It has 11 member food banks that serve more than 1,700 agencies in all 92 counties, providing emergency food assistance to Hoosiers in need.

This includes Bloomington’s own Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Julio Alonso, director of Hoosier Hills, said the food bank provides food to other non-profit agencies that have feeding programs, such as the Community Kitchen in
Monroe County that directly serves children through their summer breakfast program.

“It is possible that they are using a combination of food received from us, food received directly from their other donors and food they purchase specifically with the Department of Education funding in order to serve the children,” Alonso said in an email.

The USDA program allows schools, parks and recreation departments and private non-profits, such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, to provide meals and snacks in areas where 50 percent or more of children are eligible for free or school meals at a reduced price.

These sites can also be located at low-income housing complexes, parks, churches and other places where children come together during the summer.

Various community sites provide free meals and snacks to children younger than 18. For those cases, there are no enrollment requirements.

Nationally, only one in seven children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year continue to receive meals during the summer months.

“Feeding programs are vital to education,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said in a press release. “Hungry kids cannot learn or retain knowledge effectively.”

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