With fewer states able to offer meal programs in the summer because of the economic downturn, fewer low-income students are getting fed when school is out, according to a June analysis by the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.
Since July 2008, participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer nutrition programs, which provide free meals and snacks to children, has dropped by 90,000 children. The free meals may be served at schools, parks, community centers, and other locations.
With fewer summer school and youth programs in operation as state and local governments continue to trim their budgets, there are fewer locations where the free summer meals can be served. The report finds that only one in seven of the low-income students who relied on the National School Lunch Program during the 2009-10 school year had access to summer meals in 2010.
A version of this article appeared in the July 13, 2011 edition of Education Week as Summer Food Programs