As Summer comes to a close, so do Summer feeding programs. This year, with the help of No Kid Hungry, Anthem Medicaid, and private donors, we were able to provide 2,500 food boxes to families in need of extra resources while their children were out of school.
“Summer is the hungriest time of year for many Kentucky kids, and Feeding Kentucky is grateful for our continued partnership with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland, and funding support from Anthem Medicaid,” said Kate McDonald, No Kid Hungry Kentucky Campaign Director.
Together, we were able to help these families during one of the toughest times of the year, but now we are looking at the next challenge ahead of us.
In the coming weeks, school will begin across Kentucky’s Heartland. The free school meals students depend on are no longer available, unless their family qualifies through a lengthy application process which hinges on their income. If a family is above the income requirements, then they will have to pay full or reduced price for school breakfast and lunch, both of which are projected to increase in cost this year due to the price of food.
While the passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act renewed schools’ ability to provide summer meals, several pandemic era assistance programs were allowed to expire – including free meals for all. “For the past two school years, all students in Kentucky were able to enjoy free breakfast and lunch at school,” shared McDonald, but not this school year. In a time when food cost and inflation are impacting everyone, the lack of free meals for all students will have consequences for children in our communities.
In response to these challenges, FAKH will expand our Backpack Program by 10% across all 35 counties with an existing program.
Since the restrictions around free or reduced school meals have increased, we want to fill the gap left for families over the income level. Enrollment in our Backpack Program, which sends children home over the weekend with a bag of 12-15 ready to eat food items, is not income dependent, and exists for all children who do not have food at home over the weekends or holiday breaks. If you are interested in enrolling a child in the Backpack Program in the following counties, please contact your child’s FRYSC at school:
Adair, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Caldwell, Carlisle, Casey, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, LaRue, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Meade, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Ohio, Russell, Simpson, Taylor, Trigg, Warren, Washington, Wayne