Here’s some cool news on this warm day. I’ll paste the press release in full, below.

- MM

NEW REPORT: MT a Leader in Meeting Needs of Hungry Children During the Summer
Summer meals are in when school is out

HELENA – A new report found that Montana is among the nation’s top five states that best responded to the growing needs of hungry children during the summer.  Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said that Montana’s Summer Food Service Program is a leader in providing healthy food to an increasing number of low-income children when school is out – and is a leader in the nation in reaching eligible low-income children.

“During summer break kids should not worry about getting enough to eat,” said Juneau. The Summer Food Program makes sure all children get healthy food during the summer months so they can return to school ready to learn.  Studies show that children who are hungry are more likely to be in poor health and less likely to form friendships, to be curious, and to learn.  One in ten people in Montana live in households where there is not always enough nutritious food.

The Food Research and Action Center’s report titled “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report 2010” found that more than 6,600 children were served meals in Montana communities in 2009—up from 5,700 in 2008. The report is available on the OPI Web site: http://www.opi.mt.gov/Programs/SchoolPrograms/School_Nutrition/Summer.html

“The schools, non-profits, and communities that sponsor summer food sites are meeting a real need,” said Juneau. “This is a very real problem in our state and we need to all find ways to make sure children do not go hungry.”

Each summer, kids can eat free lunches through the Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded nutrition program open to children and youth aged 1-18 years. It runs from June to mid-August. In addition to lunches, many sites also offer breakfasts and snacks as well. Meals are served at locations where kids congregate, such as playgrounds, summer schools and community centers.

“Montana’s communities and sponsors who have stepped up to help these kids deserve our thanks,” said Juneau.

To find a meal site, families can call 1-800-809-4752 or go to http://mfbn.org/SummerFoodMT.  The website shows maps of summer lunch sites by city or county and hours they are open. It also provides contact information for those who want to find out about activities, transportation and how to volunteer or donate to a local site.

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