DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — 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 Piscataquis Regional YMCA is offering free nutritious meals to children in the community through a grant from YMCA of the USA and Wal-Mart to feed more children through the national Summer Food Service Program. The program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out of session. Nationally, more than 300 Ys will provide 7 million meals to 70,000 children this summer.
According to the USDA, 19.5 million low-income children receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, including many children in local schools.
As part of the Y’s summer food program, children aged 18 and under will continue to receive one meal and a snack a day. Not only will this help hundreds 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.
“Millions of children and families are at greater risk for hunger in the summer months,” said Erika Weidner, executive director of the Piscataquis Regional YMCA.
“With so many children who lose access to daily meals when the school lunch program is over, the PR YMCA is committed to stepping in and helping to ensure our children stay healthy and strong.”
Lunch is being served 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. each weekday through Aug. 26 at the Dover-Foxcroft Municipal Building on Morton Ave. For more information on the local food program, call the Y at 564-7111.
The Y’s summer food program received funding as part of Wal-Mart’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.
Wal-Mart contributed a $3 million grant to Y-USA to address child hunger.
The Piscataquis Regional YMCA is a cause-driven organization that is committed to the community and dedicated to promoting healthful spirit, mind and body for all through programs and services grounded in Christian heritage and the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.