[kids-lib] Opportunity for no-cost food at children's and teen summer reading programs

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Wed Dec 2 09:15:17 PST 2015

Most of you are currently or will soon start planning for the 2016 summer reading program. Wellness/fitness is the theme so it may be a good time to try the free Summer Food Service Program<http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=208> to provide healthy food to children and teens participating in your summer reading program. Only one in five students who qualify for free school lunch participates in the free summer lunch program. That means four out of five of these students are going hungry during the summer, and we know hungry kids can't focus on their reading or during other library activities.

The Summer Food Service Program is flexible. You can choose...

*         What type of meals you want to provide: morning snacks, afternoon snacks, breakfast, bag lunches, hot lunches, or dinner.

*         How many and which days you want to offer summer food: one or more days a week, including weekends. For example, you might provide afternoon snack once a week in conjunction with Saturday activity time.

*         To provide summer food only at a one-off event. For example, you might provide bag lunches at your summer reading grand finale picnic.

*         From a variety of free, ready to use banners, fliers, and other materials to promote summer food at your summer reading program.

*         To use teen volunteers to help you set-up/clean-up before and after providing food, help children and families get their food and get seated, read to children and families while they eat, and count meals distributed and number of people participating.

Do you want to have meals available for summer reading participants at your library next summer? Then...

1.       Find out if you are eligible for the free Summer Food Service Program by using this online tool<http://www.fns.usda.gov/areaeligibility>. If your library is not in an eligible area, but there is an eligible area near your library, is there an opportunity to have an activity including meals there? I.e. Plan a one-off event, lead participants to a nearby summer meals site after a summer reading activity, etc.

2.       Using the online tool, you may notice which summer meal sponsors operate sites nearby. Is there a school district or other summer meals organization nearby that may be interested in partnering with you? Contact them to start a conversation now!

3.       Any questions? Would you like help finding local summer meal sponsors to partner with? Contact Cathy Brock (cathy.brock at state.or.us<mailto:cathy.brock at state.or.us>, 503-947-5898) to learn more and get started.

The State Library and Oregon Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program have been working together for several years to help libraries and summer meal sites get more families to take advantage of the free summer reading and meals programs that can prevent summer learning loss by encouraging local partnerships.


Katie Anderson, Youth Services Consultant
Library Support and Development Services<http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/pages/index.aspx>
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528
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