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Survey Finds 17 Percent of Households in Indiana Struggle to Afford Food

Data Underscores Need to Protect and Improve Partnerships for Nutrition Assistance

Nearly one in six Hoosier households – 17 percent of respondent142618.Klein.Augusta-7375s – reported in 2014 they struggled to afford enough food for their households, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

How Hungry is America? provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for  the nation, every state, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 17.2 percent in 2014.

The report’s Food Hardship Index reveals:

  • Indiana ranked 21 out of 50 states, with 17.0 percent in the state in 2014 reporting they were unable to afford enough food. In the previous report of 2012 data, Indiana was ranked 18th with a food hardship rate of 20.4.
  • Louisville‐Jefferson County, KY‐IN ranked 15 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 21.4 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Cincinnati‐Middletown, OH‐KY‐IN ranked 35 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 19.6 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Indianapolis‐Carmel, IN ranked 52 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 18.6 percent for 2013-2014.
  • Chicago‐Naperville‐Joliet, IL‐IN‐WI ranked 74 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 16.5 percent for 2013-2014.

“It is unacceptable that so many across Indiana cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “These statistics are more than just numbers. They are Hoosier households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet.  We urge our elected leaders to do right by their constituents. It’s vital that they protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs, and support the state produce distribution program through Indiana’s food banks.  With political will, we can end hunger in Indiana now.”

The United States Senate and House recently passed budgets that would subject the federal nutrition programs to staggering cuts. Such cuts would cause irreparable harm to the health and well-being of millions of people across the country who struggle to put food on the table. They also ignore the fact that no community or state is free from hunger, as multiple studies and research continue to demonstrate.

In Indiana, legislative leaders continue discussion and negotiations on a state budget that includes support for Hoosier produce purchase and distribution through Indiana’s network of food banks, but at a funding level that has not been raised in six years even as the number of struggling Hoosiers continues to grow.

“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of Indiana. People are still struggling,” said Bryant, noting that too many Hoosiers bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment or involuntary part-time employment, and struggle to get by. “Our elected leaders must work with the charitable and private sectors in earnest to make a significant impact on alleviating hunger and improving healthy outcomes for all Hoosiers.”

How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2014 for every state and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship.

The full report is available at www.frac.org

7th Annual March Against Hunger Underway with the Indiana State Bar Association

The Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) has teamed up with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General 10982488_10153029650600630_5751922984540651436_nand Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) for its seventh consecutive year to sponsor March Against Hunger, a friendly food drive competition to raise both non-perishable food and monetary donations for Indiana’s 11 regional food banks March 1-31.

 

The competition is an opportunity for attorneys statewide to help put food on the tables of those struggling in our state. Since 2009, the March Against Hunger food drive has generated 52,354 pounds of food and $231,799.00 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks.

 

Firms can sign up any time during the collection period. Click here to register. For questions, contact Catheryne Pully at cpully@inbar.org or 800.266.2581. 

A special thanks to our 2015 participants:

Sole Proprietor

  1. The Law Office of Bryan K. Bullock
  2. Steven Douglas Law Office, PC
  3. Adedoyin Gomih Law, LLC

Small Firm (2-11 persons)

  1. Wilson Kehoe Winingham
  2. Roberge Law
  3. Hensley Legal Group, PC
  4. Delk McNally, LLP
  5. Jones Obenchain, LLP
  6. Lewis and Wilkins, LLP
  7. Richard A. Mann, PC
  8. Robert John & Associates, PC
  9. Wagner Reese, LLP
  10. O’Neill McFadden & Willett

Medium Firm (12-21 persons)

  1. Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP
  2. Hoover Hull Turner LLP
  3. Haller & Colvin, PC
  4. Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy
  5. Burt Blee Dixon Sutton & Bloom, LLP
  6. Tilford Dobbins & Schmidt, PLLC
  7. Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP

Large Firm (22-49 persons)

  1. Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff
  2. Faegre Baker Daniels (South Bend)
  3. Lewis Kappes PC
  4. Kopka Pinkus Dolin PC
  5. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Fishers)
  6. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Merrillville)
  7. Church Church Hittle & Antrim (Tipton)
  8. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Indianapolis)
  9. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Evansville)
  10. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (Merrillville)
  11. Kightlinger & Gray, LLP (New Albany)
  12. Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP

X-Large Firm (50+ persons)

  1. Lewis Wagner, LLP
  2. Faegre Baker Daniels (Indianapolis)
  3. Faegre Baker Daniels (Fort Wayne)
  4. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (South Bend)
  5. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Fort Wayne)
  6. Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Elkhart)
  7. Ice Miller LLP

Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar

  1. Indiana State Bar Association
  2. Office of the Indiana Attorney General
  3. Indiana State Senate
  4. Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
  5. Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office
  6. Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, Inc.
  7. Allen County Bar Association
  8. Lake County Bar Association
  9. Hendricks County Bar Association
  10. Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc.
  11. Women Lawyers Association

Indiana State Bar Association sponsors 7th Annual March Against Hunger competition

MAH star logoThe Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) is teaming up with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) for its seventh consecutive year to sponsor March Against Hunger, a friendly food drive competition to raise both non-perishable food and monetary donations for Indiana’s 11 regional food banks March 1-31.

The competition is an opportunity for attorneys statewide to help put food on the tables of those struggling in our state. Since 2009, the March Against Hunger food drive has generated 52,354 pounds of food and $231,799.00 in monetary donations for Indiana food banks.

The winner in each of the following categories will be presented with the coveted “Attorney General’s Cup” trophy:

  • Solo Proprietor (1 lawyer)
  • Small Firm (2-11 lawyers)
  • Medium Firm (12-21 lawyers)
  • Large Firm (22-49 lawyers)
  • X-Large Firm (50+ lawyers)
  • Public/Non-Profit/Local Bar

Sign up to participate by clicking “Register“. Firms can sign up any time before the competition begins or during the collection period.

For questions, contact Catheryne Pully at cpully@inbar.org or 800.266.2581.

Donations & Food Banks:

Your donations will be weighed at the regional food bank serving your county, which you will select during the registration process. Note: Every dollar raised by your firm/organization will count as 5 lbs. and will be added to your total. Please refer to the list below for information specific to your food bank (to include address, contact person and who to make checks payable to). You will be responsible for scheduling a time to drop off your donations (some food banks do pick up).

Indiana Works to Reach More Kids Who Need School Breakfast

PHOTO: According to the Food Research and Action Center, 213,000 Indiana children ate a free school breakfast last year, less than half of those who participated in the federal School Lunch Program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

PHOTO: According to the Food Research and Action Center, 213,000 Indiana children ate a free school breakfast last year, less than half of those who participated in the federal School Lunch Program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana schools have been working to ensure that all children, especially those who are low-income, start their day with a healthy breakfast. But a new report shows there is room for improvement.

The Food Research and Action Center found that less than half of the students who participated in federally funded school lunch programs also took part in the School Breakfast program. Lindsey Hill, president of the Indiana School Nutrition Association, said schools are trying to boost those numbers by offering breakfast outside of the cafeteria setting.

“Breakfast is actually delivered to the classroom in the mornings, and it’s a part of their day,” she said. “Other schools have done grab-and-go breakfasts where the breakfast is available as students get off the bus and they walk into the school building. It just makes it easier and faster than maybe having to walk down to the cafeteria.”

Indiana is sharing in a recent $5 million grant to rework how school breakfast is delivered, and Hill said school administrators and food-service directors around the state are collaborating to develop new strategies to reach more kids. Indiana ranks 34th nationally for participation in free school breakfast programs.

National implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision, allowing eligible low-income students to feed all students free of charge, began this year. The Indianapolis Public School District is among those offering it, and Hill said it is a good way to start the school day.

“The stigma of breakfast being only something that needy kids get is gone,” she said. “Breakfast in schools is actually something the children want to do because it’s fun and they get to socialize with their friends as well.”

According to the report, school breakfast programs have been linked to improved nutrition, fewer disciplinary problems and fewer missed days of school. Hill said the programs also help students learn better because they are not distracted by an empty stomach.

The School Breakfast Scorecard is online at frac.org.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry Announces 2015 Legislative Priorities

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is committed to enhancing the quality of life for our clients through access to safe, nutritious food and other vital necessities. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry supports legislation and administrative policies which recognize the needs of the more than 1.1 million Hoosiers our food banks serve and increase the accessibility of nutritious food options to promote health, educational attainment, and workforce success for those in need.

State Advocacy

  • Continued support for Indiana producers and Indiana food banks.  $1.2 million for Indiana’s food banks to purchase surplus or #2 produce from Hoosier farmers through a Farms to Food Banks program.
  • Continued support for the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund. State funding for the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund covers the cost of processing of donated deer from Hoosier hunters. This venison is donated to Indiana’s food banks and pantries.Indiana_Indianapolis_statehouse_c-3022012-2-1062 (1)
  • Removing barriers to public assistance enrollment and administration to ensure that programs that assist food bank clients are provided to those eligible for the assistance in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
  • Ensuring adequate funding for health and human services and providing sufficient resources to protect Indiana’s vulnerable populations.

Federal Advocacy

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry supports federal advocacy priorities that focus on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the following policy recommendations consistent with those of Feeding America:

US Capitol

  • Strengthen States’ Ability to Reach Kids During the Summer. Align the area eligibility requirement for summer feeding and educational programs to allow more learning programs to offer meals in the summer. Allow communities to adopt alternate program models in areas where children lack access to a program site to reach more kids, such as waiving the requirement that kids consume meals on site, allowing communities to send meals home with children, or giving families a grocery card to supplement their household food budget.
  • Streamline Regulations for Community Based Providers. Allow nonprofits to operate one child nutrition program year round by eliminating duplicative administrative processes and aligning inconsistent program requirements of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) after school and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during the summer.
  • Allow Flexibility to Better Reach Kids During Weekends. Waive the arbitrary on-site requirement to allow communities to innovate more effective ways to serve kids, such as sending needy children home from school with a backpack of nutritious meals or groceries on Friday afternoons.
  • Leverage Schools Beyond the School Day. Encourage schools to make their facilities available to local nonprofits as a shared community resource would allow communities to nourish more children when school is out. By opening up kitchens, libraries, or playgrounds to community nonprofits, many schools are important partners in feeding children after school, during the summer, and on weekends.
  • Strengthen Access and Quality in School Meal Programs and WIC. Continue to support schools as they strive to improve the nutritional quality of meals, providing support, equipment, and training to meet the guidelines set in the last child nutrition bill. Fewer than half of eligible children ages one to four participate in WIC, and we must ensure families’ access to the important nutrition and health benefits that WIC provides.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry to be Focus of First Lady’s Charitable Efforts in 2015

First Lady Karen Pence announced Feeding Indiana’s Hungry as this year’s Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation major grant recipient to be awarded at the First Lady’s Luncheon on April 23, 2015.10389980_10152784651970630_4110541934911165425_n

“With the holidays right around the corner, now is as critical time as ever to support organizations like Feeding Indiana’s Hungry,” said First Lady Karen Pence. “I’m thrilled to be working with this important Hoosier charity, and I’m so thankful for their work in the lives of Hoosiers across the state.”

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is a Partner Statewide Association of Feeding America, and its 11 Feeding America-affiliated member food banks serve Hoosiers across the entire state. For more information about Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, visit http://feedingindianashungry.org/.

“The First Lady has been a supporter of hunger relief efforts in Indiana for quite some time,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “We are grateful that she selected our organization as a beneficiary of her Foundation and look forward to her partnership to help our network serve more than 1.1 million Hoosiers who turn to us because they face the unthinkable circumstance of not knowing where their next meal will come.”

Each year, the Foundation selects a different charity to highlight. Throughout the year there are opportunities for organizations to request a grant or monetary award on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation is a 501 ( c )(3). The First Lady receives no compensation. Donations will be tax deductible.

Last year, the First Lady chose Riley Children’s Hospital’s Art Therapy Initiative as the Foundation’s inaugural grant recipient.

Face of Hunger in Indiana Revealed by New Feeding America Report

Largest, Most Comprehensive Analysis of Charitable Food Assistance in America HS_Icon_2C_cmykReports at least 1.1 Million Hoosiers Served Annually

A new study by Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America shows that 1 in 6 Hoosiers, or an estimated 1.1 million people in Indiana turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. Of the households served by Indiana’s food banks and programs, 43 percent include a child under 18 and 25 percent contain a senior aged 60 or over.Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that more than 46.5 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is a Partner State Association of Feeding America, and all eleven member food banks are Feeding America members.The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by food banks in Indiana – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes. It is also the first nationally-representative study that assesses the prevalence of past and current members of the U.S. military and adult students receiving charitable food assistance.

“The results of this study show us that the face of hunger is one we would recognize in every Hoosier community,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Too often, our clients also have to make unimaginable choices to get enough food for their families. Everyone agrees that hunger is something no Hoosier should face. It is important to remember the critical work food banks do every day, and how much more we can do together to solve hunger across Indiana.”

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

More information about Hunger in America 2014 can be found here.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry Marks Hunger Action Month, Becoming a Feeding America Partner State Association

Indianapolis, Indiana: Kicking off PSA logoHunger Action Month, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) announces its official partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, by becoming a Partner State Association (PSA).

“As we join our fellow Feeding America partners in Hunger Action Month activities across the nation, we are honored to be recognized as a Feeding America Partner State Association,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “There is no better time than September to bring attention to our member food banks and all that they do to support Hoosiers struggling to put enough food on their tables. Joining Feeding America as a Partner State Association will better enable us to support our members and the Hoosiers they serve, and builds on a productive long-standing relationship Feeding Indiana’s Hungry has had with Feeding America for many years.”September is Hunger Action Month across the nation, an opportunity for Indiana organizations, businesses, and individuals to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Hoosiers than ever before. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or volunteering, everyone can find the way that’s right for them to make a difference during Hunger Action Month.All eleven member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are members of Feeding America:
Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Gary
Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend
Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette
Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH

Collectively, these 11 member food banks serve all 92 counties in Indiana. These member food banks solicited, warehoused, transported and distributed more than 80 million pounds of food last year through more than 1,700 local pantries, soup kitchens, after school programs, and other food assistance programs.

Established in 2005, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry was created to maximize public-private partnerships that link hunger service providers, retailers, food producers, and processors from around the state. The partnerships enable food and funding resources to be more effectively identified and coordinated to better serve Hoosiers in need. Over nearly ten years, partnerships have broadened to encompass Hoosier agriculture, including the Indiana Pork Producers and the Indiana Soybean Alliance through the “Million Meals” pork purchase and distribution program; the American Dairy Association of Indiana; Indiana’s Family of Farmers; Indiana Dairy Producers; the Indiana Vegetable Growers’ Association; and other commodity groups. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry works with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana State Bar Association on the March Against Hunger food drive.

Other partners include Indiana’s Family & Social Services Administration through SNAP outreach; the Indiana State Department of Health for food safety awareness; and Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources and hunting organizations to facilitate the processing of deer donated by hunters for distribution at the food banks.  The organization works with generous corporate partners in the food industry. Feeding Indiana’s Hungry additionally works with the Indiana Coalition for Human Services and other partners serving similar populations, and serve as a member of Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (INVOAD).  For more information about hunger in Indiana and how you can help, visit http://feedingindianashungry.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingIndianasHungry or follow us on Twitter attwitter.com/FeedINsHungry.

About Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

Hunger in Indiana is Not Declining According to New USDA Report

Nearly 373,000 Hoosier households (1White woman getting produce4.1 percent) struggled against hunger over a three year average from 2011-2013, according to a new report released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service. This number was unchanged (in terms of statistical significance) from the previous three year average from 2008-2010, when 13.0 percent were considered to be food insecure. The rate is, however, well above the 9.2 percent from 2005-2007 before the recession.

The very low food security rate – describing households that faced deeper struggles with hunger – was 6.1 percent in the 2011-2013 average, compared to the pre-recession average of 3.6 percent from 2005-2007.

Nationally, more than 17.5 million American households (14.3 percent) struggled with hunger in 2013, where an annual estimate is calculated. The 2013 numbers were unchanged (in terms of statistical significance) from the 2012 rate, when 14.5 percent were considered to be food insecure, but a slight dip from the 2011 rate of 14.9 percent. The rate is, however, far above the 11.1 percent rate in 2007, before the recession.

“Hunger continues to impact Hoosiers and is not declining,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “The help provided by our member food banks goes far to serve our neighbors who are struggling, but hunger is a problem that simply should not exist in this nation and in our state of agricultural abundance. We have more than enough food to meet the need of every American. But we need to better ensure that people can access a safe and healthy diet to do well in the workplace or at school, improve health and wellbeing, and eliminate the fear and uncertainty of not knowing from where or when the next meal will come.”

“To move the needle on hunger we must boost the cooperation of both the public and private sectors,” said Bryant. “Both are necessary to prevent any Hoosier from going to bed with an empty stomach.”

Other national findings from the USDA report include:

  • 19.5 percent of households with children were considered to be food insecure in 2013.
  • Food insecurity rates for Black and Hispanic households were substantially above the national average, with 26.1 percent of Black households and 23.7 percent of Hispanic households reporting they struggled against hunger in 2013.
  • Food insecurity rates ranged from 21.2 percent in Arkansas and 8.7 percent in North Dakota for the period of 2011 to 2013, showing that no corner of the country is immune from this struggle. For state food insecurity rates, USDA uses three year averages for states to obtain adequate sample sizes.
About the USDA Report
Since 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture, using data from surveys conducted annually by the Census Bureau, has released estimates of the number of people in households that are food insecure. Food insecure households are those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. The report also includes food insecurity rates for each state, but for states it uses three-year averages to give a better estimate of the number of households experiencing food insecurity. Experts agree that the Census/USDA measure of food insecurity is a conservative one, with the result that only households experiencing substantial food insecurity are so classified.

Summer Meals Reaching 1 in 6 Low-Income Children in Indiana

A new report finds that participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs increased in Indiana, with almost 76,000 low-income children receiving summer meals on an average day in July 2013. This was a significant increase of twenty-three percent from the previous July.  The new data noted that summer meals reached 18 students for every 100 low-income children who got regular school year school meals in the 2012-2013 school year, better than the national rate.
Not for Corporate Use. Two girls sitting at a table eating meals.
The report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, is released annually by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). It measures the success of Summer Nutrition Programs at the national and state levels by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of low-income children receiving school lunch during the regular school year.

The FRAC report finds that summer meal participation nationally reached nearly three million students on an average day in July of 2013, up 161,000 children or 5.7 percent from July 2012.  This represents the first considerable increase in participation in a decade, providing welcome momentum for the Summer Nutrition Programs.

“When the school year ends, millions of low-income children lose access to school meals, including about 348,000 Hoosier students. It is in our best interest to ensure that such children have adequate nutrition during the summer so they stay healthy, active and return to school in the fall ready to learn,” said Emily Weikert Bryant of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.

While participation increased in Indiana and nationally, there is still room for improvement. Low participation means missed meals for children and missed dollars for the state. If Indiana were to reach 40 children with summer food for every 100 low-income children who get school lunch during the regular school year, an additional 94,000 low-income Hoosier children would have been fed every day in July 2013 and the Summer Nutrition Programs would have provided $7 million more federal dollars to do so.

It’s not too late to make a difference this summer. State and community leaders can follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has launched an aggressive campaign to increase participation. USDA’s Summer Food Service Program Week (June 2 to 6, 2014) is this week, and aims to raise awareness of the program.

“The national increase in summer food participation is good news, but Congress will need to fix some of the underlying barriers in the 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization to truly repair the Summer Nutrition Programs,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Congress needs to act to strengthen the programs so they are able to reach more low-income children, and help the program more effectively address hunger and meet increased need.”

The Summer Nutrition Programs, which include the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program, should be filling the food gap for the thousands of low-income Hoosier children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year to help keep hunger at bay. These programs provide free meals at participating summer sites at schools, parks, other public agencies, and nonprofits for children under 18.

Hoosier families can find nearby summer meal sites at the Indiana Department of Education’s website here: http://scnweb.doe.state.in.us/external_forms/2014_SFSP_Feeding_Sites_All_Indiana.pdfor by calling 2-1-1.  New this year from USDA is “SummerFoodRocks,” a free web-based application that features a site locator and search tool, and works on devices such as iPads, iPhones, Blackberrys, and Androids. Visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks to locate nearby summer meal site near you. This app is available nationwide.

About the report: 
Data for Indiana come from the 2014 version of the annual report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), the lead advocacy organization working to end hunger in America through stronger public policies. The FRAC report, Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation, gives data for all states and looks at national and state trends. FRAC measures national summer participation during the month of July, when typically all children are out of school throughout the month and lose access to regular school year meals. The report is available online at www.frac.org.