According to our newly released report Closing the Summer Hunger Gap: 2015 Broome County Summer Food Service Program Assessment, the number of children receiving free summer meals increased by 51 percent from 2013 to 2015.
This increase was made possible through collaboration between many partner organizations, sites and sponsors. Their hard work and assistance in conducting this assessment is much appreciated! We hope the assessment will be a useful tool in the fight against child hunger in Broome County.
Read the official press release below:
More Broome County Children on Track to Receive Healthy Summer Meals
A new assessment shows that 3,322 Broome County children benefitted from free summer meals through the federal Summer Food Service Program
BINGHAMTON, N.Y.—Apr. 27, 2016—The number of children participating in the Broome County Summer Food Service Program, which provides free summer meals to students 18 and under, increased by 51 percent from 2013 to 2015. This data comes from a newly released assessment from the Food & Health Network of South Central New York (FaHN), a regional coalition that works to increase access to healthy, local food and support a strong regional food system.
When school lets out, low-income children lose access to the free or reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches they receive during the school year. This leaves many children without reliable access to nutritious food, known as food insecurity. The Summer Food Service Program works to close the summer gap by providing free meals to food insecure children up to age 18 in a variety settings including schools, summer camps, community centers, churches, parks, and more.
Working with the Broome County Child Hunger Task Force and many community partners, FaHN conducted the assessment to understand the barriers that prevent children and families from accessing free summer meals, and develop a collaborative strategy to reach more children in 2016 and beyond. The Roger Kresge Foundation provided support for the assessment.
“We are extremely grateful for the dedication of so many community partners who work year round to make sure children have access to the nutritious food that is critical for their health and academic success. Thanks to innovative programs like the CHOW Bus, and new meal sites in rural areas, partners are working to remove barriers to participation, including transportation.” said Erin Summerlee, Coordinator of the Food and Health Network of South Central New York.
In 2015, 922 more children received nutritious meals in the summer, growing from 2,400 to 3,322. Along with an increase in participation, there was a 43 percent increase in the number of summer meal sites from 2013 to 2015, with 40 sites around Broome County. Although the capacity to feed hungry kids has increased, there is still more work to be done, as only 29 percent of children eating free and reduced price lunches during the school year benefitted from summer meals in 2015. The Broome County Child Hunger Task Force will focus on increasing awareness about the Summer Food Service Program during the annual Broome County Child Hunger Awareness Week, June 6th – 10th, and invites community members to get involved.
By increasing average daily participation rates from 29 to 40 percent, 4,550 children in Broome County would have access to nutritious food during the summer months.
To read the full assessment, visit the Food & Health Network website. For more information on summer meal sites in Broome County, contact 2-1-1.
About the Food & Health Network
The Food & Health Network of South Central New York (FaHN), a program of the Rural Health Network of South Central New York, is an eight-county coalition of diverse partners working together to build food-secure communities. Founded in 2005, FaHN brings together stakeholders in the agricultural, public health, sustainability, economic development, educational, business and community sectors. FaHN members strive to create vibrant communities through healthy environments, economic vitality, farm-to-consumer connections and healthy people. Visit FaHN online at http://www.foodandhealthnetwork.org or on Facebook.