Advocacy: Summer Hunger Solutions

July 10, 2019

The Problem:  Hunger doesn’t take a summer break

The Food Bank works hard all year to make sure kids have access to fresh, healthy food through our Healthy Children Pantries, our Morning Snack Program, and efforts by our very active CalFresh enrollment team.  But for many of these children, summer break means they miss out on school meals and miss out on nutritious food they need to thrive and return to school in the fall ready to learn. These kids are also affected disproportionately by summer learning loss, which hits low-income children harder than their high-income peers. That means that these children often return to school academically behind higher-income peers and struggle to catch up before classes even start.

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank has created new programs and is advocating for policies to directly address summer hunger.

The Solution: Creative programs and policies

To combat this summer hunger gap at the local level, the Food Bank continues our support of the Summer Continuation Pantry model.  For the second year we are operating a large-scale pantry at Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  There, upwards of 400 families are being served nutritious groceries – so children attending several nearby schools can continue to get the nourishment that they need.

We’re advocating for action at the Federal level

Childhood hunger during the summer months is not just a Bay Area issue.  Nationally, only 1 out of every 7 kids who need free meals in the summer is getting them.

Thankfully, our federal elected officials are responding to demands of advocates to improve access to free summer meals for kids.  The Food Bank has signed on in support of The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act introduced by Senator Pat Murray (D-WA) and Representative Susan Davis (D-CA). The bill would provide low-income families whose children are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to help them obtain nutritious food during the summer, just like with food stamps.

Along with our national anti-hunger partners, the Food Bank is calling for major investments in federal programs like the Summer Food Service Program and Summer EBT that would dramatically reduce summer hunger, provide far more student enrichment opportunities, and create jobs.

We are committed to making sure that hunger does not hold back any child from living up to their full potential.