Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One-third of Kansas counties lack federally funded summer meal program sites

One-third of Kansas counties lack federal funding to provide low-income children with summer meals, Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports for The Topeka Capital-Journal. Low-income children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year can continue to receive meals at designated spots during the summer. But the Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice says that 35 counties don't have summer meal location sites.

The main problems are transportation concerns in sparsely populated areas and finding community locations and partners willing to help with the logistics, Llopis-Jepsen writes. According to a 2015 report from the Food and Research Action Center in Washington, D.C., Kansas ranks 50th in terms of its summer meal outreach. "The organization calculates ratios of children served over the summer compared to those who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches during the school year."

In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "rejected Kansas’ proposal for hybrid rural sites that feed children on-site and send meals home with them, saying its attorneys had determined the department isn’t authorized to spend money in this manner," Llopis-Jepsen writes. "At the same time, the department suggested it might be allowed to do so in the future." (Read more) (Kansas counties in red lack federal funded summer meal sites)

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