School is officially closed for the summer! Most students are enjoying carefree fun in the sun, but for some children summer break brings a dark cloud of hunger. It is hard to fathom that one in four children in North Carolina does not get the sufficient nutrition they need; but, it is true. As a mom and Registered Dietitian this is not only alarming, but heartbreaking.
Thanks to the National School Lunch Program, all children can receive a healthy breakfast and lunch meal during the school year, but what happens when the school doors close for the summer? As Lou Anne Crumpler, State Director for No Kid Hungry NC states: “Summer should be about fun, friends and good food, but summer meals are especially challenging for families who count on school breakfast and lunch during the school year”
I believe every child should have access to the nutritious food they need to grow into healthy adults, and thankfully I am not alone. No Kid Hungry, Southeast United Dairy Association, and state agency officials are coming together to see that no kid goes hungry this summer, by offering summer meal sites which provide nutritious meals that meet the USDA standards. Kids are fed, plus partake in fun recreational activities to keep them active.
Recently, I joined No Kid Hungry North Carolina for the NC Summer Meals program kick off at Hillandale Elementary School, one of the summer feeding sites. This lively event was a fun and festive way to celebrate the more than 200 meal sites that will serve over 9,000 summer meals at no cost to kids this summer.
Thanks to supporters like the dairy farm families of the southeast, kids can be kids this summer and not have to worry about where their next meal will come from. They will receive the food they need to power their potential, including nutrient rich milk, which provides them not only high quality protein, but also 3 of the top nutrients most likely missing in the American diet: vitamin D, calcium and potassium. Nutrients needed no matter the calendar season.
Free summer meals are available at sites across the country. Click here to find meal sites near you. And spread the word- together we can help save summer for kids facing hunger.