June 25, 2012 15:34 ET

The Y Is 'Serving Up Summer' With the Walmart Foundation to Fight Child Hunger

End of School Means End of Meals for Many Children; More Than 300 Y's Across the Nation Are Offering Summer Food Programs to Provide 5 Million Healthy Meals to 100,000 Children

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Jun 25, 2012) -  As students across the nation start their summers, more than 21 million children will be at risk of hunger as the free or reduced-cost meals they received during the school year are no longer available. That's why YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is partnering with the Walmart Foundation to fight child hunger by expanding participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out. More than 300 Y's nationwide will offer summer food programs to serve 5 million healthy meals and snacks to 100,000 children.

Last year, only one in seven children who received free or reduced-cost meals during the school year were served summer meals through SFSP, according to the Food Research and Action Center. Y's will serve up to two meals a day in their summer food programs.

"More than 16 million children in this country live in households that struggle to put food on the table," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. "At the Y, we are focused on nurturing the potential of every child. We are deepening our commitment to address hunger so that more children will be well-nourished, active and energized year-round."

As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y has worked with the Walmart Foundation the past two years to ensure more children have access to meals.

The YMCA's summer food program is part of the Walmart Foundation's Summer Giving Campaign, which contributed a $5 million grant to help the Y expand and/or implement the summer food program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program's Afterschool Meal Program in more Y's for the 2012-2013 school year.

Beginning fall 2012, the Y will continue its hunger relief efforts beyond the summer and will provide 3 million meals and snacks during the school year -- a total of 8 million meals and snacks throughout the year.

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