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SUMMER MEALS HELP FILL THE GAP UNTIL AUGUST 25

8/16/2017, noon | Updated on 8/16/2017, noon
“No child in our city or state should ever have to experience hunger,” Stratton said. “Yet, considering one out of ...
The Illinois Hunger Coalition (IHC) along with State Representative Juliana Stratton is helping raise awareness of the summer meals program so more students receive summer meals when they normally would rely on breakfast or lunch during the school year. Photo Credit: The Illinois Hunger Coalition (IHC)

SUMMER MEALS HELP FILL THE THE GAP UNTIL

AUGUST 25 Continued from Page 1

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

According to a new national report by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), only 57,766 low-income children received 2016 summer meals in Illinois, which was a 19 percent decrease

from the previous summer. The Illinois Hunger Coalition (IHC) along with State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago is helping raise awareness of the summer meals program to meet the needs of

youth.

Illinois ranked among the bottom five states to miss out on the most federal funding and failure

to feed the most children in 2016, according to an IHC’s July 6, 2017 press release. If Illinois met the national goal of feeding 40 children during the summer for every 100 low-income children

who receive lunch during the school year then the state would have served an additional 221,425

children daily and brought in $16.3 million more federal dollars.

“No child in our city or state should ever have to experience hunger,” Stratton said. “Yet,

considering one out of every five children goes hungry each year through no fault of their own, this

continues to be a huge issue which is hard to grasp in a country as rich as ours. Since we know students perform better when their basic needs have been met, it’s incumbent upon us to support the free lunch program as this may be the one balanced meal many children will get on

any day.”

Amanda Kritt, who is the child nutrition coordinator for the Illinois Hunger Coalition, said the summer meals program, which was founded in 1968, bridges the gap to make sure students receive meals over the summer when they normally would rely on breakfast and lunch during their regular

school year.

“A lot of kids are relying on the schools meals as the only nutritious meal that they are getting over the day,” Kritt said. “So, over the summer when they are not able to rely on these meals, the program bridges the gap.”

The summer meals program will provide free meals at participating summer sites like schools,

parks, churches and nonprofit organizations for children under 18 until Aug. 25, 2017.

Kritt said any CPS school can participate in feeding young adults during the summer. A few schools that are participating in Stratton’s district include Hirsch High School located at 7740 S. Ingleside Ave., South Shore International College Preparatory High School (1955 E. 75th St., and

Team Englewood Community Academy High School (6201 S. Stewart Ave.) “Summer meals play a

critical role in closing the hunger gap and supporting summer programs, keeping low-income

children healthy, learning, and engaged during summer vacation,” FRAC President Jim Weill said

in IHC’s July 6, 2017 press release. “Clearly, more must be done to close this gap to reduce hunger,

fight obesity, and reduce the summer ‘learning slide’ for millions of our nation’s children.

For more information, you can visit http:// www.ilhunger.org/home.aspx