SOURCE: Y-USA

Y-USA

June 04, 2013 15:34 ET

The Y Kicks Off Summer Food Program to Serve 4 Million Meals to Kids Nationwide

In Partnership With the Walmart Foundation, the Y Gives Kids Their 'Fill of Food and Fun' During Summer Months

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 4, 2013) - As summer begins, millions of children will be at risk of hunger when the free and reduced-cost meals they receive during the school year are no longer available. To ensure that fewer kids and teens go hungry this summer, the Y is offering a free summer food program for kids 18 and under. The program combines food and fun, providing nutritious meals and snacks, as well as activities to keep kids' minds and bodies active.

The YMCA's Summer Food Program is part of a national partnership between YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) and the Walmart Foundation to address child hunger, which is more prevalent in communities during summertime. Research shows that more than 30 million children in low-income communities receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, but only 2.3 million continued to have access to free meals during summer. Thanks to a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, Ys across the country will be able to better tackle this issue. With more than 900 summer food program sites nationwide, the Y will serve 4 million healthy meals and snacks to 100,000 kids this summer.

Check out the YMCA's Summer Food program video here: http://media.ymca.net/marketing-communications/walmart/summer-food-program/2013-15-seconds.mov

"The goal of the YMCA's Summer Food Program is to provide as many kids as possible with healthy meals while they're out of school," said Barbara Roth, national director of Youth and Family at Y-USA. "Healthy food doesn't just fuel the body, it fuels the brain. Children need access to nourishment in order to stay energized and focused. This is an issue that needs our attention all year round, especially during the summer months."

To reach more kids who may be unable to visit the Y, several YMCA locations are taking the summer food program out into the community and partnering with local organizations to bring food to kids.

"In order to stay healthy and strong, kids need proper nourishment as well as physical activity," said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "We are proud to partner with the Y to improve the health of kids and teens during critical out-of-school times."

The Y is committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and is working to ensure that all kids have access to nutritious meals, so they can continue to be healthy and thrive when out of school. Now in its third year, the YMCA's Summer Food Program is part of a year-round effort to fight child hunger in partnership with the Walmart Foundation. During the school year, the Y will also serve healthy meals and snacks at over 1,400 sites in its afterschool program to provide kids with nourishment and academic enrichment.

To learn more about the YMCA's Summer Food Program or find a participating location in your community, visit ymca.net/summerfood.

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