The overall goal is to create a blueprint so libraries in low-income areas throughout California can sponsor summer meal programs in the future, says Natalie Cole, associative executive director of the CLA. She adds, “Ultimately what we hope is that all kids in need can be served.”
When schools close for the summer, so do the subsidized lunch programs that 50 percent of children in California depend upon. Yet according to California Food Policy Advocates’ (CFPA) analysis of data from the California Department of Education, only 16% of eligible kids participated in USDA summer meal programs in 2011—leaving over 2 million children in California in a vast summer nutrition gap.
And the data show that this gap is widening: over the past ten years, summer meal participation has decreased in California by more than 50 percent. CFPA links this trend to the decrease in summer school programs throughout the state. With the loss of summer school programming, low-income kids are not only missing out on what may be their most nutritional meal of the day, says Patrice Chamberlain, director of CSMS, “They’re also missing out on summer learning and enrichment activities.” (via Oakland Local)
Oakland Local － Pilot project serves free summer lunch to kids in libraries
California Library Association － Summer Lunch at the Library
The Valley Breeze － Lunch now served to hungry children at city pool, Pawtucket Public Library