WASHINGTON, August 14, 2017 — The District of Columbia ranks first in the nation for reaching low-income children with summer meals, according to Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, an annual report by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). Over 21,000 low-income children in the District received summer meals on an average day in July 2016.
Summer meals reached 48.8 low-income students for every 100 low-income children who received school lunch in the 2015–2016 school year, reaching FRAC’s ambitious, but achievable, goal of 40 children receiving summer meals for every 100 receiving free or reduced-price lunch. The District of Columbia far outpaced the national rate of 15:100.
“We’re proud of the District’s number one ranking,” said Beverley Wheeler, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “But summer meals participation decreased from last year, so through creative partnerships and increased outreach efforts, we’re working hard this summer to close the hunger gap and ensure all children across the District return to school healthy and ready to learn.”
The DC Free Summer Meals Program, administered locally by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), provides children and teens with healthy meals and snacks during the summer months. A driving factor in DC’s top national ranking is the commitment of site sponsors, including the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, Capital Area Food Bank, and D.C. Central Kitchen, to feed children free, nutritious meals and snacks when school is out. In total, there are more than 260 sites across the city that connect thousands of children each day to healthy meals.
Families in the District can locate nearby summer meal sites through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Meals Finder, by texting FOOD to 877-877, or by calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY. Summer meal sites run through Friday, August 25.
Read the report in full.
# # #
D.C. Hunger Solutions
Founded in 2002 as an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), D.C. Hunger Solutions works to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income District residents.
About the report: The Food Research & Action Center’s annual report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, includes data for all states and the District of Columbia. The report measures participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of children receiving school lunch during the regular school year. The regular school year is used as a measure because such a high proportion of low-income children eat school lunch on regular school days. FRAC measures national summer meal participation during the month of July, when typically all children are out of school and lose access to regular year school meals.