WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 – Today, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service announced the winners of the first ever Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) "Food, Fun and Sun!" Story and Photo contest to highlight how the program provides free, healthy meals to children in low-income areas during the summer. Launched earlier in the summer, USDA received over 100 submissions representing sponsors and sites in over forty states.
"We must do all we can to ensure that children get nutritious food during the summer so they are ready to learn and succeed during the school year. The organizations that participated in the contest demonstrate the commitment that people in many communities have made to reach this goal." said Kevin Concannon, USDA Undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services. "All organizations participating highlighted the critical role of the Summer Food Service Program in ending childhood hunger by providing our children the nutrition needed to be healthy, active and ready to win the future."
"Food, Fun and Sun!" showcases successful, model programs in four categories to share with SFSP sponsors and sites across the country. Photo contest categories and winners include:
- Volunteers: Using volunteers to support their work: Youth and Family Services (Rapid City, SD)
- Older Children: Addressing hunger among older kids, aged 12-18: Boys and Girls Club of Ada County (Boise, ID.)
- Rural: Successful programs in rural areas: Running Strong (Eagle Butte, SD)
- Creative: Programs that "think outside the box" serving kids and teens: Kinsley Library, (Kinsley, KS)
For more details about the Food, Fun and Sun! Summer Food Service Program Story and Photo Contest including winning submissions, please visit the SFSP Contest webpage at https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program.
The SFSP, a federally funded program designed to alleviate hunger during the summer for children 18 years old and younger, operates through partnerships between USDA, state agencies and local organizations. Program sponsors, which include schools, government agencies, residential and non-residential camps, non-profit organizations, and faith-based organizations, served nearly 134 million meals at eligible sites in 2010.
During the regular school year, about 21 million children from low-income households receive free or reduced-price meals through USDA's School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs, compared to about 3 million fed through summer programs. Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation – and communities across the Nation are working hard to make sure every child has the food they need, even when school is not in session.
USDA's most recent data shows that while in most households, children were protected from substantial reductions in food intake, children experienced very low food security in about 386,000 households (1 percent of households with children) in 2010. In these households, one or more children do not get enough to eat – they had to cut the size of their meals, skip meals, or even go whole days without food at some time during the year.
To tackle this challenge, this year FNS has launched several opportunities under the Ending Childhood Hunger initiative to include:
- Stakeholder Guide to Ending Childhood Hunger, a guide to assist individuals and organizations in choosing value-added activities and finding resources to help end childhood hunger;
- Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest (endhunger.challenge.gov), an opportunity for students in grades one through 12 to submit short videos about what they are doing, or what ideas they have about ending childhood hunger. The submission period runs through Oct. 21, 2011.
- Become a Champion to End Hunger, an online commitment drive that encourages organizations and the public to select actions they will take to reduce childhood hunger;
- End Hunger Volunteerism Portal, a website developed by CNCS where organizations can post volunteer opportunities and individuals can search for volunteer opportunities in their communities;
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger.