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The California Summer Meal Coalition and California Library Association Announce Partnership

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It’s official. The California Summer Meal Coalition and California Library Association have jointly launched Summer Lunch at the Library, a demonstration project to bring together public libraries and summer meal providers. Putting the rubber to the road, public libraries in Fresno, Los Angeles (Central and Pacoima), Sacramento (Valley Hi-North Laguna), and San Diego County (Vista and National City) will become summer meal sites beginning in June, offering free, healthy lunches to kids in the community via USDA summer nutrition programs.

Why? Summer learning loss, food insecurity, and childhood obesity have the greatest impact on low-income children. Any parent can tell you that their children don’t stop growing in summer, which underscores the importance of providing continuity in terms of access to healthy, engaging environments when school is out.  According to the National Summer Learning Association‘s 2012 report, access to quality summer learning programs, healthy food and physical activity are limited for children in many low-income communities. Summer meal programs that provide activities are often more attractive to families. According to a recent Share Our Strength national survey, 72% of parents/caregivers indicated that summer site safety and trustworthy staff were priorities in deciding whether to send their children to summer meal sites. Likewise, summer meals are a great complement to the many offerings provided by local libraries to children and their families during the summer. Did we mention that the theme of California Library Association’s summer reading program is “Reading is so Delicious”? The two partners aim to develop models that can bring together existing community assets to ensure that California’s children and youth are healthy and engaged when school is out. Through the generous support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the partnership will:

  • Support partnerships between libraries and summer meal providers in Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego County.
  • Evaluate the potential impact of summer meals and library summer reading programs on one another.
  • Develop resources/toolkit to assist other rural and urban communities in establishing library/summer

To learn more about the partnership, read the press release ore visit the California Library Association’s website. Be sure to join the California Summer Meal Coalition, California Library Association, USDA, California Department of Education, Elk Grove Unified School District and the Sacramento Public Library on June 13 for a special event to kick off summer meals at the Valley Hi-North Laguna library branch and celebrate USDA’s National Summer Meals Kick-Off Week.

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