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Summer Meals

Summer Meals Research

Federally reimbursed summer meals programs help schools, local governments, and community and faith based organizations provide free meals to children in low-income areas – but using these programs to meet the needs of children can be challenging. Those providing the meals face administrative and logistical challenges to use the program effectively in addition to often shrinking budgets to provide any programming during summer months. Families that can benefit from summer meals are often unaware of the program or face their own challenges to actually attend the programs in their area. Despite specific successes in many states and communities and large investments to help promote the program, participation has remained somewhat stagnant for many years, reaching only about one of every seven children that eats a free or reduced price lunch during the school year.

To learn more about how summer meals can work for kids, Share Our Strength, the USDA and other national and state nonprofits have conducted research about program performance, outreach efforts and the views of low-income families.  This research can not only inform any proposed changes to the federal programs but can also help statewide advocates and the sponsors and sites using the programs to feed children adjust their programs to be most effective.

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