Close to 150 children from the Garfield Park area of New Castle joined Governor Jack Markell, our staff and other dignitaries at a Summer Fun Fest outside the New Castle Police Athletic League (PAL) Center on Tuesday to officially kick off the ourSummer Nutrition Program!
Free bagged lunches, a moon bounce, fire truck and children’s games were set up for school-aged children in an effort to build awareness of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally-funded program designed to help bridge the nutrition gap when school lunch programs are not available during the summer months.
“Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of our children,” said guest speaker Annie Coons. “The service the Food Bank of Delaware provides through the Summer Food Service Program is crucial in ensuring that Delaware children have access to healthy foods when school is not in session. It’s so important that families take advantage of this free opportunity.”
Families wishing to access free meals through the SFSP may contact the Delaware Helpline by dialing 2-1-1. The Helpline will provide families with a listing of sites that will be open to the public this summer.
“We encourage families to use the summer nutrition program to help ease the burden of our current economy,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “With only 27 percent of eligible children utilizing SFSP we know that many children are not receiving the proper nutrition they need during the summer months. With the help of a new home delivery meal pilot program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, we hope to reach those children struggling to access healthy summer meals.”
To qualify for SFSP meals, sites must operate in low-income areas where at least half of the children (up to 18 years of age) are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. There are no fees associated with the program, and meals are available for delivery seven days a week.
Sites include faith-based organizations, summer camps, daycares and other centers where children congregate during the summer months. For the second year the program will also be extended to low-income neighborhoods. To host a neighborhood program, an adult must contact the food bank for an application to determine eligibility, attend a training session and submit weekly paperwork.
Sites interested in hosting a summer nutrition program in New Castle County may contact Stacy Stevens, Children’s Nutrition Program Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or email@example.com. Sites in Sussex County may contact Holly Johnson Child and Adult Programs Coordinator at (302) 424-3301 ext 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers are also needed to help prepare and pack meals for the program! To learn more about available volunteer opportunities, please visit www.fbd.volunteerhub.com or email email@example.com. For volunteer opportunities in Kent and Sussex Counties, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out some photos from the event!