FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018
Baltimore, MD – July 13, 2012 – Summer meal programs are opening their doors across the county this month, and Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.) joined Maryland Hunger Solutions and the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services to visit with participating children and see the program in action at Princeton Elementary School, Summer Playground in Suitland, MD.
Each summer, children can receive free meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Designed to fill the food gap for low-income children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year to help keep hunger at bay, the program helps participating summer sites at schools, parks, other public agencies, and nonprofits provide meals to children (ages 18 and under). In Prince George’s County, meals will be served at over 150 sites, including Princeton Elementary School.
“The Summer Food Service Program plays an essential role in helping fill the nutrition gap for our children and contributing to their success in school. That is why, when I first came to Congress, I added Maryland to the Afterschool Suppers Program to help achieve those goals during the school year. But during the summer months, many children lose access to the meals that help maintain physical health and cognitive functions. The Summer Food Service Program meets those needs, and I want to thank Maryland Hunger Solutions and the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services for their dedication to providing children healthy and nutritious meals,” said Representative Edwards.
“Summer food programs are incredibly important for families in Maryland, especially families who are struggling to make ends meet. The benefits of this program are overwhelming. Combined with summer enrichment programming, summer meals enhance children’s development and make sure children return to school ready to learn,” said Demeroto. “We’re happy to be working with Prince George’s County to get the word out about this remarkable program.”
Also joining for the event were Bruce Schenkel with the Maryland State Department of Education, and Amanda Lowery with, Prince George’s County Department of Social Services.
A report released by Maryland Hunger Solutions last month looked at participation in summer meals, and found too few children are benefiting from the program. In July 2011, only 19.6 children participated in the Summer Nutrition Programs for every 100 low-income students who received free or reduced-price lunch during the 2010–2011 school year. Prince George’s County ranks among the top five counties for participation, but still reaches fewer than one in six low-income children.
Families can learn more or find a site near them by calling 1-877-731-9300 or by going to nokidhungrymd.org and clicking on “Summer Meals.”
Maryland Hunger Solutions is the lead research, public education, and advocacy group in Maryland dedicated to using public programs to end hunger in Maryland. Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center.