IDOE announces plans for Summer Food Service Program

FILE - Photo shows 4-year-old Oumou Balde (left) playing with her teacher Jacqualine Sanchez (right) and some pretend food in a pre-kindergarten class at the Sheltering Arms Learning Center in New York in a program that was produced in conjunction with the Sesame Street children's television show to educate children about nutrition and health. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
FILE - Photo shows 4-year-old Oumou Balde (left) playing with her teacher Jacqualine Sanchez (right) and some pretend food in a pre-kindergarten class at the Sheltering Arms Learning Center in New York in a program that was produced in conjunction with the Sesame Street children's television show to educate children about nutrition and health. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) – The Indiana Department of Education is encouraging programs to expand their meal services through the entire summer break and also by making more sites available for those that need food to receive it.

IDOE reported for the year of 2013, it had the assistance of 246 sponsoring agencies and more than 1200 feeding sites. Officials said the Summer Food Service Program provided over 3 million free meals and snacks to low-income children across the state.

The Department is encouraging innovative solutions among Indiana agencies to help fight obstacles in the area of hunger. They report rural areas and cities alike see problems steming from limited availability of sites or a lack of transportation. IDOE officials said solutions could include creative partnerships between local government, school corporations, community organizations and private sector groups.

In a press release, the president of a volunteer-led Indy Hunger Network, Dave Miner, said Hunger is a very real problem across Indiana.

“It is more prevalent than just the people you see on the street or in shelters. Hunger is in the suburbs, in our neighborhoods and our schools. Hungry children suffer developmentally and fall behind in school because their focus is on their next meal,” said Miner. “When school is out for the summer, these same children are in greater need of meals throughout the day. That is why SFSP is so critical. The Indy Hunger Network encourages all schools to work with the Indiana Department of Education to develop a plan of action to feed the hungry children in your community throughout the summer.”

The Summer Food Service Program, created in 1968, is a federally funded program, operated through the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by states.

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, click here.

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