USDA recognizes Iowa Department of Education for summer lunch program
The Iowa Department of Education was recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for increasing the number of students participating in lunch programs over the summer.
A full 705,817 lunches were served this past summer, representing a 15 percent increase over 2013.
The agriculture department, which has an initiative to ensure that all children have access to safe and nutritious food throughout the year, lauded the Iowa Department of Education’s efforts in the Summer Meals Program.
But the credit actually belongs to the program’s sponsors statewide, said Department Consultant Stephanie Dross.
“We have wonderful sponsors,” she said. “We were able to bring on board 24 new sponsors and had 86 more sites operating in 2014 than during the previous summer. It is through the hard work and innovation of our sponsors that the program reach has expanded.”
There were a total of 390 sites operating during the summer. Still, an estimated 91 percent of students who receive meal assistance during the school year go hungry during the summer months. That’s because there are not enough summer food programs statewide to meet the needs of the 195,712 students who qualify during the school year for free or reduced-price lunches.
The Summer Meal Program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. For more information, contact Dross at 515-281-4760.