Don’t Allow Low-Income Children to Go Hungry During the Summer

Eating Lunch_By_Amanda Mills

Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief of Staff, Karla Thieman

Goal: Support increased funding for the summer meal program for low-income children.

Last summer, government meal plans served an average 3.8 million children on a regular summer day.  This number is substantially lower than the 22 million children who are served free or reduced lunches during the school year, which means that millions of children in America may be going hungry during their summer breaks.  Allowing children to go hungry is unacceptable, and President Obama has a plan to try and increase funding in an effort to ensure that a higher percentage of low-income children are being fed when they are out of school for the summer.

President Obama’s plan to help serve low-income children over the summer involves giving electronic benefits cards to families that qualify for subsidized school meals.  These cards would be loaded with an extra $45 per child for groceries during summer months, ensuring that extra funds are allotted to families who are struggling to feed their children.  Trying this new approach for the summer meal program is necessary because the current methods of delivering meals to low-income children simply aren’t reaching nearly enough of the children who need the program.  As of now, it’s extremely difficult for children in rural areas to even reach the sites, such as YMCAs or libraries, where the summer meal program offers meals when school is out.

The huge disparity in the number of children who need government help with lunches during the school year and the number of children who are being fed during the summer is alarming, and a new method needs to be implemented.  President Obama’s suggestion to increase funding so that all families who qualify for subsidized school meals have additional funds for groceries during the summer is a strong attempt to ensure the summer meal program reaches a much higher percentage of the children who need it.  Please sign the petition below to show your support for low-income children and an increase in funding for the summer meal program.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Thieman,

There are 22 million children in the U.S. who rely on subsidized school lunches throughout the school year, yet last summer only an average of 3.8 million of those children were fed through the government’s summer meal program.  This is a substantial gap that is disconcerting as it represents millions of children who are going hungry over their summer breaks.  President Obama has plans to try and improve the summer meal plan by increasing funding, and I am writing to ask you to please support the President’s endeavors.

By increasing funding for the summer meal program, President Obama hopes to give electronic benefits cards to families that qualify for subsidized school meals.  These cards would be loaded with $45 per child in the household for groceries during the summer months, ensuring that extra funds are going to families struggling to feed their children.  Many children in rural areas aren’t being reached because they don’t have the means to reach the public sites where lunches are served in the summer.

It is unacceptable that millions of children don’t have access to lunch during the summer, and a new method of administering the summer meal program is necessary.  President Obama’s proposed plan would ensure that a higher percentage of the children who qualify for subsidized school lunches continue to be fed throughout the summer.  Please stand in support of these children by supporting President Obama’s plan to increase funding for the summer meal program.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Amanda Mills

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