As the school year comes to an end, many children who relied on free breakfasts or discounted lunches are now faced with hunger hardships. There is an estimated 13 million children who may be forced to skip meals or experience hunger related health issues. It's more important than ever to provide and share resources for these families to encourage them to seek help and understand they are not alone.
Any child who was able to receive free or reduced priced meals during the school year now qualifies for Pandemic EBT that has recently been extended through the summer. Check on state websites to see if a child qualifies for P-EBT. Each state varies however, typically any child enrolled in SNAP, Community Eligibility Provision school, or Application for Education Benefits is eligible to receive P-EBT.
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
The SFSP provides free meals for young children and teens in low-income areas. Click on this map to view the local establishments who are a part of the program and provide the meals in your area. Due to Covid-19, meals are now allowed to be picked up and taken off site. Additionally, if you would like to look into sponsoring this program, here is a fact sheet.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplies food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services for low-income women and children five and under. A study done in 2018 shows 34% of children living with only their mothers experienced poverty compared to the 6% of children living in a two-parent household.
USDA National Hunger Hotline
Simply by calling the NHH (1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE) you can gain access to helpful resources on how to obtain food. It is available across the nation and people of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to seek their assistance. Sign up for their newsletter or follow them on social media to stay up to date on changing regulations with food programs and other helpful information.
Child and Adult Food Care Program
This program allows for participating day cares to receive meal and snack reimbursements as they provide to children in need. The program is not limited to only childcare centers, they also provide reimbursements for at-risk after care centers, adult care centers, and emergency shelters. Find more information on how you can enroll your business here.
Having a nutritional and balanced diet is a vital component for a child's development and can impact their health and academic performance significantly. Prior to the pandemic, households with children were nearly 1.5 times more likely to experience food insecurity than households without children. Covid has severely impacted low-income families who are 15 times more likely to experience hunger since the start of the pandemic. All children deserve to have a happy and healthy childhood. Most of these programs welcome local donations if you are an individual or business looking for ways to help. Other resources for those in need include local community centers or libraries, so be sure to reach out to them for additional assistance.
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