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Secretary Vilsack Highlights Summer Food Service Program Week at No Kid Hungry Launch in Virginia

National Summer Food Service Program Week – Day 2!

Today marks day two in the first ever National Summer Food Service Program Week, a weeklong awareness campaign to promote USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and other programs nationwide to feed low income kids.

Lots of things are happening around the country this week to help feed more hungry children this summer. For example today is National Hunger Awareness Day – as designated by the U.S. Senate in a bipartisan resolution. This is very fitting, given that at least 17 million children in the United States face a higher risk of hunger in the summer. Also today Agriculture Secretary Vilsack joined Jeff Bridges, Share Our Strength founder Bill Shore, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and others to launch Virginia’s No Kid Hungry Campaign at Barcroft Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia.  

During the school year, USDA provides free and reduced-priced school lunches to more than 21 million kids each day. But when the school bell rings at the end of the year, fewer than 3 million kids are fed in summer meal programs. We must—and will—do better! The No Kid Hungry Campaign supports the administration’s goal to end childhood hunger and improve the nutrition of our nation’s kids. The campaign will help get the word out to families about free summer meals with outreach materials such as postcards, posters and public service announcements.   

All summer long, USDA and its partners are redoubling efforts to highlight the important nutrition benefits provided by the SFSP and other healthy meal options available for low-income children across the country. Additionally, Let’s Move! Faith and Communities, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, will work with partners to host new feeding sites at congregations and neighborhood organizations. The Corporation for National and Community Service’s 515 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates will work at anti-hunger organizations across the country to feed more children in programs, including the SFSP. And the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-HAMBRE is ready for parents to call about SFSP feeding sites and other nutrition assistance programs in their communities.

All of these efforts and more will help reach more children and families this summer. Secretary Vilsack today said it best: “It will take everyone—government agencies, educators, elected officials, corporations, advocates and community leaders—to ensure that our children have a healthy start in life—so they can win the future."