GardenShare

GardenShare

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

FOOD SAFETY NET SHREDS IN SUMMER; DISAPPEARS AFTER GRADUATION

Summer marks a serious gap in the nation’s food safety net for children. Of the 22 million students who receive free or reduced­-price lunch in U.S. public schools, all but 3.9 million of them lose access to those meals over the summer, according FeedingAmerica. Whether it is because they can’t get to community summer meal sites or don’t know about them, more than 18 million children go hungry over the summer. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Hunger ­Free Summer For Kids Act last August to give communities more flexibility for summer meals programs.Their proposal would allow communities to deliver packaged meals to families or distribute electronic benefit transfer cards to eligible children over the summer, allowing their families to buy extra food from retail stores.

Yet, while students in K­12 schools lose access to reliable food sources during the summer, high school students lose access completely when they graduate and go to college. Graduates lose access to the School Lunch Program, and SNAP work requirements make it difficult to go to college. Campus surveys have found nearly 40% of undergraduate students in the City University of New York system are food insecure as well as 21% of students in the California State University and University of Hawaii systems. Colleges and states are starting to pay attention. As of July 5, 2016, there were 339 active member institutions of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. And the California legislature is considering a bill to help local food banks coordinate with college food pantries and require both public and private colleges to participate in restaurant meals programs in their counties.

Source: Education Dive, 7/28/16, Food Safety Net for Students