Ys across the nation to provide 7 million meals to children this summer, as part of funding provided by Walmart's Summer Giving Campaign
CHICAGO, July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the school year ends, so do free meals for the millions of children in low-income households who depend on them most. This summer, the Y is partnering with Walmart in an effort to feed more children through the Summer Food Service Program – the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s program to provide free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out of session. More than 300 Ys nationwide will provide 7 million nutritious meals and snacks to 70,000 children.
According to the USDA, 19.5 million low-income children receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year. As part of the YMCA's summer food program, children aged 18 and under will continue to receive two meals a day, or one meal and a snack. Not only will this help thousands of children get nutrition they need for good health, but it also will help alleviate the strain on family food budgets when school is out.
"When the school year ends, children's meals should not," says Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA). "With so many families struggling, the Y is committed to helping kids stay strong and healthy. As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, we're making sure that all our children have the support they need to thrive in summer and year around."
The YMCA's summer food program is part of Walmart's Summer Giving Campaign – a broad $25 million initiative aimed at filling the gaps created when schools close this summer. The initiative will help expand nutrition, learning and employment services to more than 110,000 U.S. middle and high school students throughout the summer months. Walmart contributed a $3 million grant to Y-USA to address child hunger.
"Kids should have every opportunity to grow into successful adults and we're doing our part to make sure that's the case this summer," says Walmart's Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Leslie Dach. "From helping thousands of kids stay active and learn, to supporting summer job programs and providing nutritious meals, we're committed to making a difference."
In most cases, the YMCA's summer food program will not be limited to providing meals during the weekdays. Some Ys are expanding their efforts to help more children every day by creating additional resources and programming, such as backpack programs to send children home with food for the weekends, programs focusing on teen engagement, community gardens and YMCA summer camp scholarships.
Help the Y Raise Awareness
The need to provide healthy meals to children over the summer is critical, as more families struggle with the issue of hunger. To help generate awareness, supporters will be invited to tweet about the Y's hunger efforts with the hashtag #YFightHunger on Twitter (e.g., "the Y is feeding 70,000 kids this summer. #YFightHunger). The Y's goal is to collect 70,000 "tweets" to represent each of the 70,000 children that the Y will feed this summer. This live Twitter feed will appear on a webpage on the Y's national website, ymca.net.
The dedicated page will also feature a "blog tour" that provides readers with exclusive field reports from participating Ys across the nation offering the summer food program.
To learn more about the YMCA's summer food program, visit ymca.net/summer-food-program.
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 proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
YMCA of the USA
SOURCE YMCA of the USA