YMCA Responds to Growing Hunger Crisis with Summer Food Program
The Y is dedicated to ensuring that kids and teens in our communities have ongoing access to nutritious food all year long, which is why we offer a Summer Food Program to help combat child hunger, especially during the summer months.
Economic uncertainty following two years of a pandemic and rising costs of food have exacerbated the hunger crisis in America. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12 million children under 18 in the U.S.— and 38 million people total— live in a household with food insecurity, defined as being unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life. That means 1 in 6 children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
To cover this need, more than 30 million kids receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year through the National School Lunch Program. However, only 14 percent (1 in 7 eligible kids) have access to free meals during the summer, according to the USDA, threatening to impact kids’ physical health, academic growth and mental well-being.
The Y’s Summer Food Program works to fill that gap. The program is available at more than 2,500 locations across the country.
As part of a year-round effort to address child hunger across the country, the Y’s Summer Food Program has served more than 100,000,000 meals since 2011. Not only does the Summer Food Program offer nutritious meals and snacks for kids and teens, but the program also provides fun learning activities to keep them healthy, active and well-nourished all summer long. Throughout the school year, the Y's Afterschool Meal Program provides a combination of learning activities and healthy meals and/or snacks for kids and teens at the end of the school day.
It is the Y’s mission to help fuel children’s success by incorporating healthy eating and physical activity into early childcare and afterschool programs. As part of a long-time commitment to youth development, the Y nurtures the physical, mental and social-emotional development of youth from cradle to career.
For more information, visit https://www.ymca.org/what-we-do/youth-development/food-programs/summer.