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DHS And USDA Kick Off 2012 Summer Food Program

Monday, June 04, 2012 | 12:46pm

LOCAL AGENCIES THROUGHOUT STATE ASSIST CHILDREN WITH NUTRITIONAL NEEDS

NASHVILLE– The Tennessee Department of Human Services is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and local agencies across the State to kick off the 2012 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  This year’s Summer Kick-Off Event will be hosted by DHS and East Tennessee Human Resource Agency on June 7, 2012 at 11:00am at the Seymour Boys and Girls Club in Sevier County.

At the end of the school year many children anxiously await for the last bell to ring. Summer should be an exciting time for children to enjoy playtime with friends, a week at camp, a family vacation, or time at the pool.  But for many children who receive free and reduced-price meals at school, summer can mean hunger.  Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition.

The SFSP provides free meals and snacks to low income children, ages 18 and under, when school is out for the summer. To celebrate the beginning of the statewide 2012 SFSP, the Summer Kick-Off  Event will provide information on how any community may have a successful program and meet the critical need for proper child nutrition when school is out. The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency has been an outstanding sponsor of the SFSP for many years.  Last year, the agency operated more than 160 feeding sites in 14 counties. 

“We are thankful for the many efforts that our federal and local partners have made to address childhood hunger,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner, Raquel Hatter.  “The SFSP makes a real difference in the lives of many low income children. This program is important to assist families to maintain nutritious meals when school is out.”

Authorized and funded by Congress, and administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and each respective state, the SFSP helps to ensure that low-income children have opportunities throughout the summer to receive nutritious meals.  To implement the SFSP in Tennessee, DHS contracts annually with local agencies that sponsor the preparation, delivery and serving of free meals and snacks to children at approved feeding sites in low-income areas.

In 2011, a total of 57 sponsors served more than 2.7 million meals at over 1,500 feeding sites statewide. Locations included parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, schools, churches, camps, public housing, and other places accessible to needy children.  Sponsors serve meals to all children in attendance regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

To learn more about SFSP sites across the state, please call the National Hunger Hotline toll free at 1-866-3-Hungry (1-866-348-6479). This hotline serves as a clearing house to ensure that needy children are directed to the feeding sites that are closest to their communities.  For more information on the SFSP, please visit the USDA website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/.  For more information on the TN Summer Food Service Program and other Human Services Programs, please visit our website: http://tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/afs_cafp.html

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, thisinstitution is 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, 1400Independence Avenue, S.W., 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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