The Sciences

More Hungry Children, Fewer Free Meals

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumJun 29, 2010 5:27 PM


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Last week, I began writing about the relationship between energy and food - a topic that I intend to explore in detail over the coming months. That post dealt with limited micronutrients in other parts of the world, but just because they are more readily available here in the US does not mean that our children are getting what they need.

Today the Food Research and Action Center--an anti-hunger group that tracks summer meal programs--released a report called Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation (pdf) which looks at national trends. Using data from the Agriculture Department and state nutrition officials, they show that regional governments around the country are not adequately funded to feed low-income kids during the summer. The states most in trouble are California, Louisiana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Hawaii and Utah. Consider: In 2009, 73,000 fewer children participated in summer meal programs than in 2008--even though the number of those in need skyrocketed due to our troubled economy. Among the students who ate free or reduced-cost lunches during the regular school term, just 16 percent were fed adequately when out of school. Back in 2001, that figure was 21 percent. In other words, a lot more children in the United States will be going hungry this summer, which can impact development, concentration, health, and more. Surely we can do better. Download the full report here.

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