Kids who rely on school meals during the school year often go without
the nutrition they need during the summer months. A small, up-front investment can draw millions in federal funds to help curb summer hunger for Washington kids. By chipping in $250,000, the state could leverage up to $4 million in federal funds to expand summer meal sites in a dozen communities across Washington.
Almost one in five households across Washington state reported they didn’t have enough money to buy the food they needed in 2009. Families with kids are hurting even more, with 23 percent saying they struggled to put food on their tables, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center.
At a news conference convened by the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition, the Children’s Alliance joined parents and teachers in urging our state lawmakers to raise significant new revenue to protect kids and schools.
January 13, 2010 — Gov. Chris Gregoire’s revised budget rightly protects Apple Health for Kids, Maternity Support Services and some other vital programs that are helping Washington families weather this grueling recession. But many critical investments remain in jeopardy.
The Seattle Times invited the Children's Alliance and a handful of other organizations to write an oped giving state lawmakers advice for the upcoming session.
We urged them not to turn their backs on the children and families who need them most. "If we do," Executive Director Paola Maranan wrote, "we would only create problems that become costlier to solve down the road."
This month U.S. Representative Rick Larsen introduced legislation aimed at making after-school meals and snacks available to more children.
The bill, given the acronym-friendly title Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Acess to Meals and Snacks Act, woulld give programs that serve meals and snacks during the school year the same rate they get for serving meals and snacks over the summer. The problem is, summer food and school-year food are reimbursed through separate federal programs that currently pay different rates. The EASY Act would link the two programs and bump reimbursements up to the higher level currently paid only during the summer.
December 2, 2009— A new report from the Children’s Alliance shows that merely 16 percent of the 280,000 children who eat free lunches during the school year have access to similar meals during the summer months.
The report, “Summertime Hunger in Washington State,” includes initial data from the summer of 2009 that suggest more children flocked to the summer meal programs during the recession, but that the programs operated for fewer days as school districts, parks departments and other organizations cut back due to budget woes.
Of the 300,000 Washington children who got free or reduced-priced lunch on an average day in the 2008-09 school year, only 11 percent of them got summer meals through the federal Summer Food Service Program. While the recession is pushing the need for meals up, many programs sponsored by school districts, parks departments and other organizations cut the number of days they were open last summer.
The Children's Alliance continues to gain coverage from rising hunger rates. This article ran in the Spokesman-Review and cites hunger figures from our 'Hungry in Washington' report and quotes Linda Stone, our Senior Food Policy Coordinator, saying:
Several media outlets picked up on our Hungry in Washington report, including the Seattle Times, Northwest Public Radio (KPLU and KUOW), the Olympian, and Real Change. The Seattle Times added information from Linda Stone, our Senior Food Policy Coordinator, to a national Associated Press story:
"We need more family-wage jobs, and federal nutrition programs should be stronger," Stone said. She also hopes the state Legislature will act to help pay for summer meal programs for children who depend on breakfast and lunch programs in public schools during the school year.
"There are children in classrooms across the state who may be coming into classrooms without dinner," Stone said. "We see school feeding programs as rock- bottom important."