Sunday, June 23, 2013

Report Gives New Mexico Good Marks on Summer Feeding Programs in 2012

In the midst of all the bad news about child hunger in our state, (especially Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap report), I want to highlight  a report that actually had good news about hunger and school children in New Mexico.  If you look at the illustration above, about a dozen states are colored in green in this map released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) via its report entitled Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation.  Even though the report was released in the summer of 2013, it deals with data for 2010 through 2012.  New Mexico is one of those green states!

The map shows the states that made progress  in 2012 in providing federally subsidized meals to children in low-income areas. The two federal Summer Nutrition Programs—the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) SeamlessSummer Option and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)—provide funding to serve meals and snacks to children: at sites where at least 50 percent of the children in the geographic area are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals; at sites in which at least 50 percent of the children participating in the program are individually determined eligible for free or reduced-price school meals; and at sites that serve primarily migrant children.

Once a site is determined eligible, all of the children can eat for free. Summer camps also can participate, but they are only reimbursed for the meals served to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The NSLP also reimburses schools for feeding children that attend summer school.

"Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation provides national and state-level analysis of summer meals programs in 2012, updates on the program and overview of state-level legislation related to summer meals. The report shows a slight national increase in participation, though it still only reaches one in seven kids that eat a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, said Kim Caldwell, program manager at NoKid Hungry (a project of Share Our Strength).

Here is what the report says about New Mexico, which reported 49,411 children participating in the program in July 2012.

Four top performing states managed to reach at least one in four of their low-income children in July 2012, when comparing Summer Nutrition to regular school year lunch: District of Columbia (59.8:100), New Mexico (30.2:100), New York (27.6:100) and Vermont (26.0:100). The three top performing states maintained their rankings from 2011 despite decreases in participation: District of Columbia (-16.5 percent), New Mexico (-1.5 percent), and New York (-2.1 percent). Vermont increased participation by 23.7 percent in order to rank 4th nationally.

See the full report for much more information, tables and other data 

(By the way, my thanks to Sarah Newman, former program manager at the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, for pointing me to the FRAC report. The Collaboration was a major partner with NoKid Hungry New Mexico, which played a major role in promoting summer feeding programs for children in our state. Because of lack of funding and other reasons, the Collaboration and NoKid Hungry New Mexico ceased to exist in 2012).


Sarah, Feeding America staff said...

Thanks for sharing our Map the Meal Gap data! You are a wonderful advocate for hunger-relief!


BreadNM Blog said...

Thanks Sarah!