For Immediate Release
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Frankfort, KY - More children in Kentucky are getting the nutrition they need during the summer, according to the 2019 KY Kids Eat Summer Success Report released today by Feeding Kentucky. The report finds that the number of meals served to Kentucky kids increased again in 2019 to over 3.2 million, a 10 percent increase compared to 2018.
The Report reveals that in 2019, 30 percent of all summer meals sites in Kentucky were mobile meal stops, and 85 summer meal sponsors in embraced this meal delivery method using renovated school buses, vans, and other vehicles to bring the summer meals program to where kids live and play. Of those 85 sponsors, 11 received a mobile meal grant from the No Kid Hungry Kentucky campaign to support program and meal expansion.
In a rural state where, according to Feeding America 18.4 percent of children are food insecure, ensuring access to summer meals for all kids is a significant challenge. Many families live in areas that make it difficult for kids to reach summer meal sites. Summer meal sponsors in Kentucky are meeting that challenge through mobile meals, an innovative delivery method that ensures kids living in remote or dangerous areas also have access to summer meals.
This the fifth year in a row that the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) has seen an increase in meals served to kids in Kentucky. The KY Kids Eat Coalition believes that statewide partnership and creativity are key to this continued success. “All children should have access to a healthy meal in a safe environment. No child's future should be stifled by their family's income," said Kate McDonald, KY Kids Eat Coordinator at Feeding Kentucky. “The many organizations in Kentucky that are offering free meals to children are equipping Kentucky kids with the nutrition they need to grow and learn. We strongly encourage other organizations to follow their lead so that more children can benefit.”
The coalition, comprised of state agencies, school districts, food banks and other nonprofits, works each year to expand the SFSP. In 2019, the coalition focused on expanding access to transportation in communities with limited resources, increasing awareness of summer meals throughout the state, and sharing the impact of summer meals in Kentucky with policymakers.
SFSP is federally-funded through USDA and administered by the Kentucky Department of Education. The SFSP reimburses providers who serve free healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months. Free summer meals are provided at local sites in Kentucky such as schools, libraries, YMCAs, churches, and parks.
About Feeding Kentucky
Feeding Kentucky is comprised of seven Feeding America food banks that reach all 120 counties of Kentucky and serve an estimated one in seven of all Kentuckians annually. Last year, its members distributed 72 million meals in partnership with more than 800 charitable feeding agencies such as pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. KY Kids Eat is the childhood nutrition program of Feeding Kentucky focused on connecting kids to healthy meals 365 days a year. The No Kid Hungry Kentucky campaign, a partnership between Feeding Kentucky and Share Our Strength, is the key strategy to achieve this mission. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community, visit FeedingKy.org.