Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Nutrition Programs Beginning Across State

I recently visited with school kids in Corpus Christi and Laredo where I kicked off my annual Mayors Challenge in an effort to feed hungry children this summer. While a lot of these kids are obviously excited about the summer break, there will be many at risk of being hungry because they will not have access to the school meals they rely on each day.

The Mayors Challenge is intended to remind parents about Summer Nutrition Programs and local feeding sites available to eligible children while school is closed. With the help of mayors across the state, I hope to raise awareness about these underutilized resources available to keep kids nourished.

How great is the need? Lunches served to low-income children drop from 2.3 million per day during the school year to just 418,000 per day in the summer. That’s an alarming disparity and a gap we should all try to close.

Summer is temporary and so too should be the short-term solutions for getting through difficult financial times. Education and gainful employment are the keys to any family’s independence. Let’s work toward creating those opportunities while keeping kids fed in the meantime. When children have access to nutritious food, their need for healthcare should go down. This is a boost not only for the children, but also for the taxpayer who often times pays the cost of healthcare.

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