Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Agriculture Secretary praises Spring, Summer Fun Café program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had lunch with kids at San Diego Unified's Spring Fun Café Thursday, lauding the program and it bigger summertime counterpart, and challenging other cities and school districts to do the same.

Sec. Villsack with Supt.-desig. Cindy Marten and students.
Vilsack was joined at the event by Supt.-Desig. Cindy Marten, City Council Member Marty Emerald, County Health Officer Wilma Wooten and other local officials.

Enjoying a lunch that included turkey and swiss sandwich on a whole-wheat bun, baby carrots (from Bakersfield), Pixie tangerines from Ojai, kumquats from Pauma Valley and oranges from Valley Center, Vilsack called for a nationwide effort to double the number of meals served this summer.

"When school lets out, millions of low-income children no longer get a healthy breakfast or lunch, but USDA's summer meals program helps to fill that gap and is an invaluable investment in the future of America's children," said Vilsack. "Poor nutrition during the summer months can have a negative impact on a child's health, as well as their academic performance during the school year. Communities across the nation can work with us to ensure that all children have access to healthy foods, all year long."

Supt.-Desig. Marten noted that nearly $700,000 in USDA funds supports the summer-winter-spring programs and in 2012 nearly 308,000 meals were served. The current program runs through this Friday.

USDA's summer meals programs operate through partnerships between USDA, state agencies and local organizations. Local sponsors, such as schools, local government agencies, faith-based and nonprofit community organizations, and residential and non-residential camps provide free meals and activities to eligible low-income children during the summer months. In 2012, USDA's partners served 144 million summer meals at 38,800 sites, feeding approximately 2.3 million children on a typical summer day. For more information on becoming a SFSP sponsor or site, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/. To find a site in your community, call 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre.

News coverage