Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky Raises Awareness about Summer Meals Programs

Joins with Greater Chicago Food Depository & Skokie Public Library to Combat Child Hunger

Skokie, IL —(ENEWSPF)-July 20, 2015.  Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky visited the Skokie Public Library, a site that hosts a summer meal program sponsored by the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Congresswoman Schakowsky was joined by Kate Maehr, Executive Director & CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Richard Kong, Deputy Director of the Skokie Public Library. The Summer Food Service Program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.  

“We must do all we can to fight child hunger because right now one in every five children in Cook County is at risk of going hungry” Schakowsky said. “Many think children look forward to the summer, but for those who struggle to get enough to eat, it’s the most dangerous time of the year. We must spread the word to parents and families about the availability of meal sites in their neighborhood so we can make sure no child goes hungry during the summer months. Together we can end child hunger in our community and throughout Illinois.”

Schakowsky is a cosponsor and strong supporter of the Summer Meals Act, which would increase the number of communities eligible for federally-supported summer meal sites, reduce barriers to enrollment in those programs for kids and parents, and allow summer meal sites to serve an additional meal per child each day. Legislation like this would help to end child hunger nationwide.

In the meantime it is very important that local efforts are bolstered. The Skokie Public Library, which hosted the event at their meal site, firmly believes that the program will be much more successful if more families are aware of the program’s existence.  

“This is our first year working with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to provide summer meals,” said Young Adult Librarian Shauna Masura, “And we have received really positive feedback from our families about the service.  It’s encouraging to know that this partnership is filling a real need in the community.”

Kate Maehr, the CEO and Executive Director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, also added it is especially important to increase local support.

“During the summer, the top priority of the Greater Chicago Food Depository is to ensure children have the food they need to grow up healthy, smart and strong,” said Maehr. “In order to do that, it’s important to coordinate with public and private partners to raise awareness for summer meal programs. We’re pleased to join Congresswoman Schakowsky in that effort.”

Here are some more facts and resources regarding summer meal sites:

In the 9th Congressional District, nearly 27,050 children are food insecure. 

Yet in the District there are 100 summer meal programs for children – and 44 of them require no registration or sign up.

Nearly 85 percent of low-income children who receive free and reduced lunch during the school year in Cook County don’t get summer meals.

To get more information about local meal sites people can text FOODIL to 877877.

People can also visit www.summermealsillinois.org to find a meal site nearest to them or www.chicagosfoodbank.org to learn more about hunger in Cook County.

Source: www.schakowsky.house.gov