Demopolis City School System recipient of $15,000 grant to combat summer hunger

Published 4:51 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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The Demopolis City School System was the recipient of one of these $15,000 grants and will use the funding to help meet the needs of its students throughout the summer vacation period.

Due to federal policy changes, schools and community groups can serve free summer meals in new ways this year – reaching more of the kids who need them.

School is out for the summer, and this year school districts and nonprofits in rural Alabama communities are allowed to serve free meals outside of traditional summer meal sites, thanks to federal policy changes that allow for new non-congregate options. To support the rollout of these new models, No Kid Hungry recently announced $15,000 in grants to help reach even more kids with summer meals, helping ensure they remain nourished and healthy during the summer months.

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Summer can be one of the hungriest times of year for millions of kids who receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year, a lifeline that ensures reliable access to nutrition. When schools close for the summer, however, these meals disappear and families struggle from the strain on already-tight budgets.

Summer meal programs were designed to provide healthy meals during summer vacation, but have historically only reached a fraction of the kids who need them due to barriers like transportation, fuel costs, extreme weather and parent’s work schedules. In rural areas, where kids often live many miles from their closest meal site, these challenges have been particularly stark. Fortunately, earlier this year Congress approved significant improvements to the summer meals program, including new options that allow rural sites to offer the flexibilities that work for their community, like grab and go meals, meal delivery and pick-up of multiple meals at a time.

“There has long been a huge gap between the kids getting meals in the summertime and the kids who need them, creating undue burden on family budgets and making it much harder for students to return to school in the fall healthy and ready to learn,” said Lori Golden, Senior No Kid Hungry State Campaigns Manager. “Thankfully, Congress enacted permanent flexibilities for rural communities nationwide, helping reach more kids with summer meals. We saw during the pandemic that when we trust providers to serve meals in the ways that work best for their community, children stay nourished – and we’re eager to support our partners in doing just that.”

No Kid Hungry’s grant funding supports the adaptations needed to reach as many kids as possible with summer meals, including meal delivery, refrigeration and transportation costs.