Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples visits Reed and Mock Elementary in San Juan to talk about the importance of feeding Texas children during the summer.
Mayor Contreras has accepted the Texas Department of Agriculture's statewide Mayors Challenge, which is aimed at increasing awareness about TDA's Summer Nutrition Programs that provide for children who rely on school meals for daily nourishment. The Pharr - San Juan - Alamo ISD, with Imelda Palacios as its Child Nutrition Program director, is working closely with Mayor Contreras and already seems to be doing an excellent job feeding children in need.
But we must continue to do more across the entire state. During the school year, Texas schools serve an average 2.1 million meals daily for free or reduced prices to children from low-income families. By contrast during the summer, fewer than 322,000 lunches are served at no cost each day. These are not good numbers for a state that ranks No.1 for food-insecure children.
Unfortunately, closing the summertime hunger gap in Texas is not our only challenge. We also must increase opportunities for families to become more self-sufficient through higher education and better job opportunities. All Texans benefit from a hunger-free state, and with help from community leaders like Mayor Contreras, we are taking steps to sustain our neighbors in need so they can focus on pursuing long-term financial independence.
Again, I applaud and thank Mayor Contreras and other statewide mayors who are helping direct children in their communities toward nutritious summertime meals. To find a summer feeding site in your community, visit www.squaremeals.org or call 211.