Kids Deserve Three Meals a Day [Commentary]
Friday, June 27, 2014
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
June 26, 2014
By Jonathon Rondeau, [ABAG Member] The Family League of Baltimore
The federal government should step up and increase the funding for a summer food program so participants can have dinner too
When school let out for the summer, most of the children in Baltimore who qualify for free and reduced price meals — 84 percent — lost access to the three meals a day they count on during the school year.
Struggling families and children turn to community leaders who run summer supplemental programs, like Hattie Bailey, who serves meals at Full Gospel Fellowship Church through the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). But since SFSP only provides two meals per day, Ms. Bailey is unable to serve supper to the children in her program if she serves them breakfast and lunch. She knows that these children often go without eating supper at all, and that a mid-day lunch can be their last meal of the day until the next morning.
The United States government should step up to provide those who volunteer their time and energy to administer the Summer Food Service Program with the three meals that all kids need, instead of just two.
Many Baltimore parents are employed in low-paying jobs and struggling to pay their monthly household bills. They rely on federally-funded school meals to feed their children. When school is closed, they find themselves unable to provide food on their own, so children are not reliably getting breakfast, lunch and supper.