The Family YMCA joins national effort to provide 7 million meals to children this summer, as part of Walmart’s Summer Giving Campaign
When the school year ends, so does free meals for the millions of children in low-income households who depend on them most. This summer the Española YMCA Teen Center is providing free nutritious meals to youth of all ages beginning Monday, June 4. The Center is able to do this thanks to a $7,500 grant from YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) and the Walmart Foundation, and in partnership with the national Summer Food Service Program. The program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out of session. Nationally, more than 300 Ys will provide 7 million meals to 70,000 children this summer.
The Center will provide lunch and a late afternoon snack, around 4 pm, Monday through Friday in June and July. Youth who stop by to eat will be encouraged to participate in ongoing education projects to keep them ready for school, where they may earn a certificate and award for their work.
According to the USDA, 19.5 million low-income children receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, including numerous children served at various sites in Española. As part of The Family YMCA’s summer food program, children aged 18 and under may receive lunch and a snack. Last year the Y served an average of 70 children per day. This service helps alleviated the strain on those family food budgets while school is out.
“Millions of children and families are at greater risk for hunger in the summer months,” says Linda Daly, CEO of The Family YMCA. “With so many children who lose access to daily meals when the school lunch program is over, The Family YMCA is committed to stepping in and helping to ensure our children stay healthy and strong.”
The Family YMCA’s summer food program received funding as part of Walmart’s Summer Giving Campaign – a broad $25 million initiative aimed at filling the gaps created when schools close this summer. The initiative helps expand nutrition, learning and employment services to more than 110,000 U.S. middle and high school students throughout the summer months. Walmart contributed a $3 million grant to Y-USA to address child hunger. With this grant money, the Y is purchasing additional tables, chairs and shade equipment to accommodate the youth. The Y has partnered with the Española Public School system to be a provider site.
Help the Y Raise Awareness
The need to provide healthy meals to children over the summer is critical, as more families struggle with the issue of hunger. To help generate awareness, supporters are invited to tweet about the Y’s hunger efforts with the hashtag #YFightHunger on Twitter (e.g., “the Y is feeding 70,000 kids this summer. #YFightHunger). The Y’s goal is to collect 70,000 “tweets” to represent each of the 70,000 children that the Y will feed this summer. This live Twitter feed will appear on a webpage on the Y’s national website, ymca.net.
To learn more about The Family YMCA’s summer food program, visit ymca.net/summer-food-program www.laymca.org.
The Family YMCA was founded in Los Alamos in 1955 by volunteerswhom saw a need for a place where families could recreate together. Primary services include youth, family, and community programming; after school care and summer camp programming, and a wellness facility in Los Alamos; and teen recreational and academic programming in Española and Los Alamos. The mission of The Family YMCA’s Española Teen Center is to strengthen the efficacy of community teens through educational support, outreach and character development. The full mission of our organization, administratively based in Los Alamos, NM, is to strengthen the foundations of community by engaging in partnerships for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We are a charitable, community-serving organization that promotes strong values, leadership development, service-learning, community interaction, healthy life choices and healthy lifestyles.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.