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Meal Sites Stop Summer Nutrition Slide

GRAPHIC: A report on Summer Nutrition Programs shows Wyoming has seen success in making sure low-income children are served healthy meals when school lunchroom is closed. Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.
GRAPHIC: A report on Summer Nutrition Programs shows Wyoming has seen success in making sure low-income children are served healthy meals when school lunchroom is closed. Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.
July 17, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Summertime shouldn't be hunger time.

That's the push this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage children to pick up nutritious food at Summer Nutrition Program sites around the state.

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) says the state boosted its participation rate in the program by 21 percent last year, and is reaching about one in five low-income students who depend on school meals.

Signe Anderson, a senior child nutrition policy analyst with FRAC, says top-performing states offer mobile meals – going to where children spend their time, and that's important in rural areas.

"Oftentimes kids are in parks and they're outside,” she says. “And ideally, that's where you want them to be, is outside and active and in a safe space."

The goal is to reach 40 percent of students during the summer who normally receive free or reduced price lunches during the school year.

Anderson says feeding sites can be provided by churches, YMCAs, parks and recreation departments, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

"You know, they have the programming and the structure there, during the summertime when they're not in school, to do activities in addition to the meal,” she explains.

There's no paperwork required for summer meals and no questions are asked.

Meals are available at 74 sites in Wyoming. There's a clickable map online at WhyHunger.org.




Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY