Contact: FNS Communications: (703) 305-2281
WASHINGTON, November 14, 2014 ?C Complementary programs that extend the reach of the U.S. Department of Agriculture??s (USDA) summer meal programs could help reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer, according to three studies released today by USDA??s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The studies found that making enhancements to the traditional program, or utilizing alternate methods of reaching eligible children, could reach additional children and reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer to levels normally seen in the fall.
As part of USDA??s mission to address increased child hunger during the summer, USDA has conducted a series of projects examining ways to better serve children from low-income families, particularly those living in remote areas or areas otherwise underserved by USDA??s summer meal programs. The interventions tested included delivery of meals in rural areas, providing backpacks with food for weekends and holidays when summer meal sites were not available, and providing summertime nutrition assistance benefits through electronic benefit transfer (EBT).? The studies found that some of these innovative strategies were effective in reaching additional children, and some substantially reduced childhood hunger in low-income families.