For a condensed version, view the Executive Summary
Food insecurity means a lack of regular access to basic food needs. In 2014, 28,740 children in the FaHN region were food insecure. While over 33,000 eligible students in the FaHN region received free or reduced price meals during the 2014-2015 school year, food access becomes a major challenge for families during the summer months.
Children living in food insecure households are at greater risk of developmental and health-related issues and poorer academic performance. When school is out, the Summer Food Service Program helps to fill the gap, providing free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise be at risk of hunger.
In 2015, nearly 8,500 children in the FaHN region participated in summer meals. Still, SFSP is underused—the number of students participating in summer meals equaled only 26% of those receiving free or reduced price meals during the school year . These findings led FaHN to initiate a Broome County summer meals pilot assessment and outreach project. Working with the Broome County Child Hunger Task Force, FaHN gathered data, resources and information to build the capacity of summer meals in Broome County and reach more hungry kids in Summer 2016. The assessment gathered feedback and best practices from meal sites throughout the county and provided key recommendations moving forward.
Following the pilot project, the regional assessment focuses on the eight counties in the FaHN region. It establishes the number, capacity and location of all summer meal sites in the region, identifies the unique characteristics and needs of each meal site, and determines the current and potential ability to serve additional children.
Valuable feedback was provided from summer meal sponsors and site supervisors, as well as community groups and organizations who support the program. Innovative and effective methods of reaching more kids are being used throughout the FaHN region as food service directors, community organizations, schools, agencies, parents, and volunteers collaborate to reduce child hunger during the summer months.
Through the information shared in this assessment, FaHN will work to provide support, build connections, and expand SFSP in South Central New York.