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District of Columbia Offers Healthy Summer Meals for Kids

Monday, June 23, 2014

District of Columbia Offers Healthy Summer Meals for Kids

DC Free Summer Meals Program provides access to nutritional meals for all DC children and teens

MEDIA CONTACT:
Victoria Holmes
Communications Specialist
(202) 372-5415
victoria.holmes@dc.gov                                                                                                                                            

(Washington, DC) Starting today, children and teens can access free nutritious meals and snacks at more than 300 sites across the District of Columbia through the DC Free Summer Meals Program (FSMP).  The program is administered locally by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). In an effort to combat the reduced access and availability of nutritional foods during the summer months when school is out, participating meal sites serve breakfast and lunch to all District children and teens up to 18 years of age. Youth are encouraged to drop in with a friend. No application or identification is required.

“Good nutrition is essential for effective learning every day, including summer vacations,” said State Superintendent of Education Jesús Aguirre. “As part of our commitment to supporting children year round, our free summer meals program provides nutritious meals so children can continue to learn and grow throughout the summer.”

The FSMP is a nationally recognized US Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition program created to ensure that children in low-income areas continue to receive wholesome and nutritious meals during the summer months when the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program are not available.

The program offers a variety of hot and cold meals based upon USDA meal patterns and the DC Healthy Schools Act, which requires sites to serve a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To make the program accessible across the District, meal sites include DC Parks and Recreation centers, select DC Public Schools and DC Public Library locations, faith-based and community-based organizations, housing authorities as well as summer camps.

According to the USDA, more than 30 million children receive free or reduced-cost meals through the National School Lunch Program, but only 2.3 million of these kids continue to receive meals through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

OSSE served more than 1.2 million meals during the summer of 2013 and has consistently ranked first in the nation for serving the highest percentage of eligible children. The program begins June 23 and runs through August 22, 2014. To find a meal site near you, call 211, text FOOD to (202) 6565-EAT or visit onecityyouth.dc.gov for an interactive map of sites, serving times and local summer programming.

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