McGovern Tour Supports USDA Summer Food Program to Provide Healthy Meals to Low-Income Students During Summer Break From School
Congressman Jim McGovern hosted last Friday his 2nd annual Summer Food Rocks Tour to bring attention to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) national Summer Food Service program and highlight how it assists low-income students in Massachusetts.
The Congressman was honored to be joined on the tour by USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon as well as numerous local, state, federal and not-for-profit partners.
The tour included stops in Ware, Orange, Leominster and Worcester.
“A child’s need for healthy, nutritious food doesn’t just end when the school year does,” Congressman McGovern said. “With our second annual Summer Food Rocks Tour, I’m excited to be working with our national, state, local and not-for-profit leaders to ensure that every eligible family that requires access to food this summer knows that this program is available. Helping all of our students have a healthy and productive summer is so important.”
He continued: “We should do everything we can to ensure that no child goes hungry simply because school is out. I’m proud to see this program continue to make a big difference for our communities. I hope that through this tour, eligible families who do not participate will decide to give it a try.”
“Children are particularly vulnerable to hunger and poor nutrition, especially when school is out,” said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition & Consumer Services. “That’s why this summer, we’ve set a goal of serving 200 million meals nationally; it was encouraging to see the great work being done in Massachusetts to help to reach as many children and teens as possible. USDA is happy to see strong partnerships work diligently to ensure no child goes hungry.”
The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.
· In addition to USDA Under Secretary Concannon, Congressman McGovern was joined on the tour by national, state, local and not-for-profit leaders including; USDA Regional Administrator Food and Nutrition Service Kurt Messner; Acting Director for Nutrition Health and Safety Programs for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Rob Leshin; Director of Child Nutrition Outreach Programs for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Ashley Krebs, EOS Foundation Director Christy Mach Dubé, representatives of Share Our Strength, Project Bread, the Leominster Spanish American Center, the Montachusett Opportunity Council and The Worcester County Food Bank, as well as numerous state and local elected officials, educational leaders, and food service managers from across Massachusetts.
Below is a brief description of each event on Friday’s tour and the state and local leaders who attended:
WARE: Tour of Summer Food Service Program at Kaziol Elementary School in Ware
In Ware, the Congressman and his guests served breakfast to youngsters and spoke with family members about the importance of the SFSP program. Share Our Strength distributed sunglasses to the children which were enjoyed by all.
ORANGE: Tour of Summer Food Service Program at Fisher Hill Elementary School in Orange
In Orange, the Congressman and his guests had the opportunity to spend time with children attending camp at Fisher Hill Elementary School who had enjoyed a SFSP breakfast before taking to the basketball court and playing outside with bubbles provided by Share our Strength.
LEOMINSTER: Roundtable Discussion of Summer Food Rocks Program and Tour of Spanish American Center in Leominster
In Leominster, the Congressman and his guests were hosted again this year by Neddy Latimer, Executive Director of the Spanish American Center. Participants discussed the successes achieved by, and the challenges to be addressed by, the SFSP program. The group then toured the newly constructed kitchen at the Spanish American Center and served lunch to an enthusiastic group of children. See photos.
WORCESTER: Roundtable discussion of National Standards for School Lunch Program and Tour of Worcester Public Schools Food Truck:
At the Goddard School, Congressman McGovern hosted a roundtable discussion of national standards for the school lunch program facilitated by USDA Under Secretary Concannon.
During the discussion, guests were treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the Worcester Public Schools Nutrition Department. After the roundtable, participants were able to tour two Worcester Public Schools food trucks and discuss the successes achieved by this innovative program.