CHICAGO, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to combat childhood hunger, the Y will offer its free Summer Food Program at more than 1,100 sites throughout communities large and small. Made possible through a $5.3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, the program will provide nutritious meals and snacks and fun learning enrichment activities to keep youth healthy, active and well-nourished all summer long. Programs are open to youth ages 18 and under and help to fill the summertime gap for those who receive free and reduced-cost meals during the school year.
Research shows that more than 30 million children in low-income communities receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, but only 2.3 million continued to have access to free meals during summer. Ys across the country are well-positioned to tackle this issue as part of their robust summer programming for youth. With more than 1,100 summer food program sites nationwide, the Y will serve 5 million healthy meals and snacks to 150,000 kids this summer.
"At the Y, we are dedicated to ensuring that kids don't go hungry and they have access to daily nutrition all year round, especially during the summer months when hunger can have negative effects on youth development," said Stacey McDaniel, spokesperson for the Year-Round Food Program at YMCA of the USA. "If kids are hungry, they can't focus and if they're not active and learning they are at risk of the 'summer slide'. The Y and the Walmart Foundation are working to ensure that kids have the nutrition they need for positive physical, academic and character development."
The Y is committed to nurturing the physical, mental and social-emotional development of youth and is working to ensure that all kids have access to nutritious meals, so they can continue to be healthy and thrive when out of school. The YMCA's Summer Food Program, now in its fourth year, is part of a year-round effort to fight child hunger in partnership with the Walmart Foundation. In 2013, the Y provided a total of 7.5 million meals to children across the country through Afterschool and Summer Food Programs.
"The summer months can be a challenging time for families as they try to ensure their children have access to regular, healthy meals while they're out of school," said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "We are proud to continue partnering with the Y this year to help even more kids and teens across the United States benefit from meal programs in their hometowns, so they can enjoy healthy, happy summers."
To learn more about the YMCA's Summer Food Program or find a participating location in your community, visit ymca.net/summerfood.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Together, they have donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.
YMCA of the USA
SOURCE YMCA of the USA