Summer meals program kicks off

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Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator Robin Bailey Jr. joined the Tennessee Department of Human Services today for the No Tennessee Child Hungry Awareness Campaign's Tell Child Hunger to Take a Hike walk at the Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park in Nashville.

Tennessee summer meals programs help ensure children and teens have access to the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy when schools let out for summer and they no longer receive the meals they rely on throughout the school year. Approximately 2,700 sites across the state will offer meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) summer meals programs, fueling kids to learn, be active, and engage throughout the summer months.

"Summer is a crucial time for children and teens to continue pursuing their highest potential," said Bailey. "Unfortunately for millions of children across the country, food insecurity threatens their ability to thrive when school's out. USDA's summer meals programs ensure kids and teens have consistent access to healthy meals at no cost during the summer months and provide a safe, nourishing environment for kids to learn and grow."

Cannon County's Summer Feeding Schedule
(Meals will be served at Woodbury Grammar Cafeteria):
June 13-16--Summer Feeding for Camp Read to be Ready ONLY
June 20-23--Monday through Thursday
8 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
11:30 a.m. - 12 noon Lunch
Free to all students 18 and under

July 11-14--Monday through Thursday
July 18-21--Monday through Thursday
8 a.m.-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
11:30 a.m.-12 noon Lunch
Free to all students 18 and under

Across the nation, approximately 22.1 million children and teens receive free and reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch program. But only about 1 in 6 of those (approximately 3.8 million) participate in the summer meals programs. That is the critical gap that the summer meals programs work to fill. This summer, USDA and Tennessee are striving to build stronger, healthier communities by fostering sustainability and expanding access to eligible children and teens in rural and urban areas, allowing them to engage in summer opportunities and preparing them to thrive when they return to school in the fall.

In the summer of 2015, nearly 17 million meals were served to children and teens in Tennessee. Approximately 130 thousand children and teens received meals at 2,688 sites across the state. Murfreesboro City Schools even found a way to bring the summer site to the children by literally rolling out the Combat Hunger On Wheels or "CHOW" Mobile Bus in Rutherford County where children would benefit from the delivery of breakfast and lunch.

The Summer Meal Site Finder is a free, web-based application that features an easily-searchable map to help locate sites serving summer meals in your area. Families can also identify nearby sites by calling 1-866-348-6479 (English) or 1-877-842-6273 (Spanish) or using a text service operated by a USDA partner by texting FOOD (English) or COMIDA (Spanish) to 877-877.

This year, USDA's summer meals programs are partnering with the Department of Labor and Department of Education to promote the Summer Opportunity Project, a White House initiative to expand opportunities for youth throughout the summer. The summer meals programs play an important role in achieving this goal by ensuring youth's most basic needs for food and nourishment are met, allowing them to focus on pursing and leveraging summer opportunities.

FNS is working with national, regional, and local partners to communicate the location of summer meals sites to youth participating in summer youth employment programs. They are also encouraging sites to take an active role in creating opportunity through offering physical activity and enrichment activities to keep children and teens engaged and created a series of free materials - Summer Food, Summer Moves - to provide ideas and examples.

In addition, expanding access to summer meals for youth 18 years and younger in underserved rural areas is a major USDA priority. Innovative partnerships and creative problem-solving have helped sites, sponsors, and other partners develop solutions to access issues, such as retrofitting buses and shuttles and partnering with America Corps' VISTAs volunteers.

Since summer 2009, USDA has served a total of more than 1.2 billion summer meals, and the number of meals served has steadily increased each year. This is just one of many improvements USDA has made to the summer meals programs and its other nutrition assistance programs over the last seven years. Other examples include updated nutrition standards for schools in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; an updated food package for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and expanding the scope of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education program. In total, FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that, together, comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information, visit

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