Los Angeles, CA – According to a new report released, reductions in summer school – up to 70% in many school districts - due to the state budget crisis mean that 300,000 children who ate lunch at school last July will have severely reduced access to free, nourishing lunches this summer.
The summer lunch program is particularly critical for the state’s 2 million children who rely on free breakfasts and lunches at school during the regular school year. Child hunger is highest during the summer months when low-income children are unable to rely upon the free school meals they receive during the academic year.
At a time when low-income Californians face high unemployment rates, proposed reductions in numerous public programs and financial instability, summer nutrition programs must be strengthened to ensure that low-income youth get proper nourishment at summer school, summer enrichment programs, or community sites. “California is leaving millions of federal dollars unspent by not providing these meals to needy children and teens,” says Matthew Sharp of California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) and co-author of the School’s Out…Who Ate? 2009 (http://www.cfpa.net/summerfood/sowa2009.pdf)
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