Advocating for Child Nutrition

Nourishing Our Children

Advocating for Child Nutrition

children can learn

Year-Round Food Programs

Nothing is more fundamental to ensuring that children can learn, grow and thrive than consistent access to healthy meals. Youth-serving organizations like the Y are on the front lines of providing healthy meals to children experiencing food insecurity. However, we face the challenge of operating under two separate federal programs in order to provide meals to the same kids all year long.

The Y is a leading provider of the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) thanks to a partnership with the Walmart Foundation and other funders, providing healthy meals and snacks to thousands of kids alongside vital afterschool and summer enrichment activities. Last year, Ys served over 39 million meals and snacks to 505,000 kids in need at no cost to families.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more children and families than ever faced food insecurity. In response, additional Ys started serving meals and experienced Ys dramatically increased service to meet the need. Using new flexibilities, Ys grew to operate 11,000 feeding sites, which, along with serving 505,000 kids through CACFP and SFSP, served over 38 million pounds of food to over 500,000 people of all ages.

Especially during the summer, these site-based meal programs serve a critical need in communities. In addition to providing healthy meals, they prevent summer learning loss through educational programs, keep kids active and provide a safe place for kids when they’re not in school.

The Summer Meals Act would create a streamlined solution for the Y’s year-round food programs and include other critical improvements, like ensuring Ys can feed all kids experiencing food insecurity in our communities and provide transportation to programs where kids can eat, play, learn and thrive.

Action Item

  • Co-sponsor the bipartisan Summer Meals Act of 2021 (S. 1170 and H.R. 783). The Summer Meals Act will help improve nutrition and enhance learning in underserved areas by streamlining administrative paperwork, investing in transportation, allowing for an additional meal and aligning site location eligibility to match that of other federal education grants.

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Healthy living is public policy priority for the Y. So many children benefit from our programs focused on their well-being. We continue to strive to include even more kids in these supportive initiatives.