About Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force
The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force envisions that in a state as abundant as Idaho hunger will not exist and works to put public and private resources into action statewide in order to eliminate hunger and provide food security for all Idahoans.
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Idaho Steps Up to the Plate for Summer Nutrition
BOISE, Idaho – Idaho is one of the top states in the nation for serving
nutritious meals to children who need them during the summer.
A new report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows the number of Idaho children reached last summer was up almost 5 percent.
More than 21,000 children received meals on one day during a spot check. Kathy Gardner, director of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, says that progress lays the groundwork for boosting participation this summer. "And we know that these are kids who are depending on school meals during the school year,” she says. “And so this is critical to give them access to food during the summer."
The report found that 22 out of every 100 low-income children who receive school meals during the year also accessed summer meal programs – the eighth-highest rate in the country.
Gardner credits the increase to work done by schools, advocacy groups, the state and U.S. Department of Agriculture. She adds that the goal is to reach 40 percent of low-income students.
Summer meals can be breakfast, lunch or a snack, and are offered at schools, community centers, parking lots, neighborhood corners, recreation centers and parks.
FRAC President Jim Weill says many states saw increases in program participation. Nearly 3 million children were served in 2013, an increase of more than 5 percent.
"Last summer proved that it is possible to reach more kids with summer food – if the federal government, the state, the advocacy groups, the outreach groups and the nonprofits that run the program just put their backs to the wheel," he says.
Summer meals sites and schedules are online on the Idaho State Department of Education website, by calling 211, or using a free app – search for Summer Food Rocks.
May 7, 2014
BOISE, Idaho - Many schools in Idaho have a new option for lunch. They
can offer lunch and breakfast to all students free of charge - if they are
Colleen Fillmore, director of the state Education Department's Child Nutrition program, said the so-called Community Eligibility Provision has been tested in other states, and one thing administrators appreciate is eliminating families' applications for free and reduced-price lunches. Also there's no need for cash boxes or lunch accounts.
"Any time you look at something, the pros and cons, this is a 'pro.' It absolutely decreases the paperwork," she said.
The definition of "high poverty" is that 40 percent or more of students have been identified as living in low-income households through other programs. Schools are reimbursed for the costs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Schools that implemented the program in previous years saw breakfast and lunch participation increase by up to 25 percent.
Kathy Gardner, director of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, said paperwork isn't just onerous for schools; it also can keep children out of the lunchroom. This new way of managing cafeterias welcomes all students, without stigma for those singled out as "poor."
"This provision allows high-poverty schools to offer nutritious breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge," she said. "Remembering that it's high-poverty schools, we know that these families are struggling to put food on the table at home."
All high-poverty schools in the country can implement the program this year. Gardner estimated that about one-third of all schools in Idaho qualify.
Details on CEP for Idaho are online at sde.idaho.gov.
Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID- See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-05-07/hunger-food-nutrition/new-option-for-many-id-schools-lunch-without-the-paperwork/a39205-1#sthash.Y6tLffgw.dpuf
The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of our work by the Food Research and Action Center, Mazon and Share our Strength.
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