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TDA seeks partnerships to feed kids this summer

Seal of the Texas Department of Agriculture
Seal of the Texas Department of Agriculture

AUSTIN — As part of an ongoing effort to promote nutrition and fight childhood food insecurity, the Texas Department of Agriculture is seeking partner organizations to raise awareness of the federally funded Summer Nutrition Programs.The programs help feed a growing number of children who do not have access to nutritious meals when schools close for summer. According to Feeding America, more than 17 percent of Texas households are considered food insecure – a rate that is higher than the national average.

“No child in Texas should ever go without a meal,” Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “The resources are available; we simply need to connect the resources with those who need them most. Government must be a bridge, not an endless highway, and this program helps bridge the gap to ensure our children don’t go hungry. Texas is a leader in many things – child hunger should not be one of them.”

The Summer Nutrition Programs are offered statewide in areas where more than 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program. All meal sites must be sponsored by an organization that is contracted with TDA. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, churches, nonprofit residential summer camps such as Boys and Girls Clubs, government agencies and tax-exempt organizations. Meal sites provide free summer meals to children 18 and under.

TDA encourages interested organizations to seek community partnerships to provide this much-needed service. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for meals served to children. All new and renewing sponsors are required to take training courses offered in several cities before participating in these programs. The deadline to apply for participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs is April 15, 2012.

For more information about TDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs, or for an application, visit www.summerfood.org or call the TDA Food and Nutrition Division office at (877) TEX-MEAL, (877) 839-6325.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service funds the Summer Nutrition Programs. In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, the participating organizations are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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