(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky Summer Food Service Program is once again making sure students’ stomachs are full even when classrooms are empty.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Southeast Regional Administrator Robin Bailey joined Kentucky Department of Education Office of Administration and Support Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney and other staff members from the Division of School and Community Nutrition this week in kicking off the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at Calvary Elementary School near Lebanon. While at the event, Associate Commissioner Kinney read a proclamation signed by Gov. Matt Bevin proclaiming June 15, 2016, as Summer Food Service Program Day in Kentucky.
During the school year, more than half a million Kentucky students eat breakfast, lunch or both meals at school – often for free or at a reduced price. They count on these meals to keep their stomachs full and their minds active. When school is out for the summer, many children do not have access to healthy, nutritious meals. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again and make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need.
This summer, nearly 2,000 sites across 116 Kentucky counties will provide more than 2 million breakfasts, lunches and snacks to more than 20,000 of Kentucky’s neediest children. Children 18 years old and younger are eligible for the free, nutritious meals.
“Just as learning doesn’t end when the school year ends, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition. Without the Summer Food Service Program and the wonderful sponsors, thousands of children would not get the nutrition they need during the summer months. The development of these children depends in large part on making sure they get nutritious meals all year long,” said Mike Sullivan, who manages the program for KDE’s Division of School and Community Nutrition.
The Marion County schools and Superintendent Taylor Schlosser hosted Tuesday’s event, where guests toured the Dream Bus, a repurposed school bus that has been converted into a mobile learning bus and that is being used during the summer to deliver meals to children in communities throughout Marion County.
More than 150 SFSP sponsors, including school districts, private non-profit organizations, local government agencies, churches and community organizations sponsor feeding sites in support of the Summer Food Service Program in Kentucky. The program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is administered by the Kentucky Department of Education, Division of School and Community Nutrition.
To locate a SFSP feeding site, call the National Hunger Hotline at (866) 3HUNGRY or (866) 348-6479. Meals also can be located by texting “Food” to 877-877.