SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the nearly 2 million California students at risk of hunger without access to school meals this summer, Dairy Council of California and the Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative urge participation in USDA's free Summer Food Service Program to bridge the hunger gap.
"June is Dairy Month, a great time to make sure healthy eating for kids doesn't take a summer vacation," said Tammy Anderson-Wise, Dairy Council of California CEO. "Missing out on balanced meals at school can put health and academic achievement in jeopardy. USDA's summer meals, coordinated by the California Department of Education, ensure all children 18 and under have access to free healthy meals serving all five food groups, including milk, while school is out."
Choose from three ways to find a summer meals location: text FOOD (or COMIDA for Spanish) to 877-877, dial 211 in Sacramento or visit Bit.ly/FindSummerMeals.
"Students need to eat nutritious food all year round to succeed in school. During the summer, some children may have their access to food curtailed. That's why I am so pleased that the Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative is providing summer meals sponsors with help in managing their programs and in getting word out about these free summer meals," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
According to Jesus Mendoza Jr., USDA Food and Nutrition Service regional administrator, "Partnerships and the support of communities are critical to the success of the program. Ensuring that students have access to healthy meals throughout the summer is an essential part of Summer Meals, and so are the educational, volunteer and job training opportunities that many organizations are integrating into their Summer Meals sites to maximize their engagement with the youth in their communities."
The Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative, organized by United Way California Capital Region, has leveraged partnerships and community support to develop the Sacramento Summer Lunchbox. This toolkit, available at YourLocalUnitedWay.org/SacSummerLunchbox, helps summer meals sponsors manage volunteers, promote awareness and participation through social media and offer nutrition education and craft activities to fuel bodies and minds as kids eat free this summer.
"Thanks to a generous grant from the Sierra Health Foundation, the Sacramento Summer Lunchbox provides tools to help spread the word about these free meals available for all Sacramento kids and teens, no paperwork required," said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO. "Together we're all working to bridge the summer hunger gap with healthy, balanced meals and fun educational activities in parks, libraries, schools and even community centers."
Dairy Council of California is an active member of the Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative, contributing nutrition education materials and marketing resources to the Sacramento Summer Lunchbox and coordinating Summer Meals Program kickoff events in Sacramento and Fresno this June. For more information on these local events, please contact Sara Floor, Dairy Council of California communications manager, at 916.263.3560 or SFloor@DairyCouncilofCA.org.
About Dairy Council of California
For nearly a century, Dairy Council of California has partnered with educators, health professionals and communities to elevate the health of children and parents through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits. Funded by California's dairy farm families and local milk processors, Dairy Council of California's science-based nutrition education resources, Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies, training programs and online tools reach millions in California and throughout the United States. Learn more at HealthyEating.org.
About United Way California Capital Region
For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought people together to meet pressing needs in the Sacramento region and has changed the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults. Now United Way is mobilizing nonprofits, companies, schools, government and individuals across the region, state and country to make a collective impact in the areas of education, financial stability and health in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.
On the Net:
Dairy Council of California: http://www.HealthyEating.org/
United Way California Capital Region: http://www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org/
Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative: http://www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org/post/sacramento-summer-meals-collaborative
Sacramento Summer Lunchbox: http://www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org/sacramento-summer-lunchbox
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SOURCE Dairy Council of California