Dec 4, 2019
In California, more than 3.7 million students were eligible for free or reduced priced school meals in the 2017-2018 school year. For many of those students, school meals are the primary source of regular access to healthy food. When the bell rings at 3:00 or lets out for summer break, many of those students go home to nutritional uncertainty or high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. For many low-income families, the out-of-school-time food access gap increases family stress: limited budgets are stretched further to cover food, rent, utilities, transportation, medications, and chidcare costs. For very young children, food insecurity can negatively impact brain and physical development. For children of all ages, disrupted access to healthy food can impact behavior, increase risk of obesity, make it harder to concentrate, or exacerbate existing healthy conditions like type 2 diabetes. The impact is not limited to summer, and can lead to a rocky start to the school year, negatively impacting school attendance and students’ ability to effectively participate in school. Read the full brief to learn how public and affordable housing communities can address food insecurity for children and youth with the help of out-of-school-time USDA child nutrition programs.