Texas has one of the lowest Summer Meals participation rates, ranking 48th in the nation. Why wouldn’t families participate? It’s often because they don’t know where to go. The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded program providing meals during the summer months to children who may rely on the National School Lunch Program during the school year. While the meals are paid for, the marketing and outreach are not - meaning those kids who need a free meal don’t know about all the available options. With 52% of Dallas and Collin County students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and low state-wide participation, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) partnered with Texas Hunger Initiative to form the North Texas Summer & Supper Council. The Council is comprised of state approved meal providers in North Texas who work together to feed children throughout the community.
Since 2014, Dallas and Collin County youth have known that a big orange yard sign proclaiming “Free Summer Meals (&Fun) Available Here” means they have a safe and reliable option for food all summer long. UWMD engages corporate partners like Kellogg and Wells Fargo to support cool kick-off events and targeted marketing online and around the city that helps us get the word out to families.
Bringing visibility to Summer Meals providers is one of the easiest ways to be ‘United Against Summer Hunger’. UWMD is happy to be able to use our voice in the North Texas community to let families know they have options for free food throughout the summer. Summer is supposed to be all about fun, not hunger!
To locate a summer meal program in your community, text the word “FOOD” to 877-877 or call 2-1-1 to learn about additional food resources.
JAMES HARDIN, AUGUST 16 2018
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