EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Nutritious and free meals have been served to 700 children this summer who’d otherwise face hunger. Governor Dannel Malloy and Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell say the amount of children being fed is a milestone for the Connecticut Summer Meals Program.
The Summer Meals program has a 33 percent increase since 2011 with 714 serving sites. Governor Malloy says “Our summer meal programs play a critical role serving children and families who experience hunger when school is not in session. Reaching this all-time high demonstrates that we are making a difference in the lives of young people.”
“Summer meal programs help kids fuel up, have fun, and get the nutrition they need for growth and good health,” Commissioner Wentzell said. “They increase awareness of the importance of healthy food choices and physical activity during the summer months, and we are fortunate in Connecticut to have an incredible group of dedicated partners who have worked together to reach this milestone.”
Summer meals are an extension of the free and reduced-price lunch and breakfast programs that schools provide during the school year. During the summer, schools and community partners set up meal programs for children at parks, churches, libraries, playgrounds, camps, food pantries, community recreation centers, and many other locations throughout the state. The meals are free and any young person 18 or under can participate.
Lucy Nolan, the Executive Director of End Hunger CT, says “The Summer Meals program feeds bellies and minds together so our kids will be ready for action when it’s time to go back to school. None of this could happen without the amazing partnerships that we see today between state and local governments, schools and non-profits like End Hunger CT!”
Last summer, Connecticut ranked as one of five top-performing states in serving meals to children and teens during the summer, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, released in June.