What memories come to mind when you remember summer vacation as a kid?
Do you remember the long summer days? The taste of ice cream? Playing in the swimming pool with your friends?
For millions of children in the US, summer is not a fun time. Many of the meals they receive during the school year disappear, leaving their families struggling to make ends meet. For this reason, summer is the hungriest time of the year for kids. Only 15 out of every 100 kids who receive free or reduced meals in schools are able to access summer meals.
With your support, we are closing this gap and ensuring that all kids have the meals for the summer they deserve. We have created a texting line and a Meal Finder Map so families find free meals near them. We continue to provide grants to community organizations, so they have the resources to provide meals to kids during the summer. Your donations are making a difference.
A big part of our work has also focused on policy change. We understand it’s a long and windy road, but the scale of the impact on kids is enormous.
In December of 2022, Congress approved changes so it’s easier for families in rural areas to access meals. Now, organizations can deliver meals to families or let them take and eat meals at home. Before, parents had to bring their kids to meal sites where they had to eat their meals. This change is a big deal for families who may not have transportation or those who are busy working.
Congress also allowed funding for the expansion of a summer-long grocery benefit program for kids. Low-income families now get an extra $40 per child during summer months to buy food, easing the financial strain on them. With your support, we have worked tirelessly to prepare states for a timely roll-out. As of 2024, 35 states, five territories, and four tribal nations are on board to implement this program, providing 21 millions children with access to essential groceries during the challenging summer months.
After one year of these policies, we have seen the difference it makes on the lives of kids. A food bank in Virginia reported that they served over 54,000 meals in June when before the rule they would only serve 4,000 meals in the same month in previous years.
Behind the numbers, there are the faces of thousands of families. We spoke to a mom in Arkansas living with disabilities. She found solace in the ability to bring meals for her kids home. We visited remote communities in Tennessee where the closest convenience store was almost an hour away. We talked to a grandma in Maryland who didn’t have transportation and loved the summer meals program.
We also talked to kids. They told us about their dreams, trying out for the basketball team, playing tag with their friends and the delicious summer meals.
While we celebrate these wins, the fight against summer childhood hunger isn't over. We urge you to keep supporting us in 2024. We need to make sure the organizations have what they need to serve meals. They need technical support, staffing, equipment and vehicles. We need to continue working, so the summer grocery benefit meets the needs of families and to make sure all states join this program in the future.
We also need to continue advocating for common sense policies that will help us close the summer gap.
The victories we've had show the power of working together. With your ongoing support, No Kid Hungry aims to make every summer a time for all kids in the U.S. to grow, learn and thrive. Together, let's build a future where no child goes to bed hungry.
Ways You Can Help:
Donate: 1 dollar can help provide 10 meals for kids in need. Your support will help us fund meal programs all over the country and help us advocate for policies that will help kids get the meals they need.