Closing the Summer Meal Gap for Students
It’s now summer in North Texas, and most students are out of school for the next few months. In preparation for this break from the classroom, educators often warn about summer slide, a decline in academic skills that can occur during summer break. But for many students, summer means both a break from academics and also from school-provided meals. Throughout our community, the absence of academics and critical nourishment is likely to result in a population of students who not only endure a summer of hunger but lose some achievement gains made during the previous school year.
During the summer months, the North Texas Food Bank continues to provide access to nutritious meals to food-insecure students and their families through our strategic programs as well as via our vast network of more than 200 Partner Agencies. We are also proud to promote the work of our partners at the Texas Department of Agriculture.
To help close the summer meal gap and provide summer programming for food-insecure students, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides children and teens ages 18 years old and younger with free, nutritious meals in a welcoming environment. SFSP meal sites are located in areas where more than 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program. Last summer alone, this critical program distributed 15.5 million meals at various sites throughout the state, with most sites also offering activities to keep students engaged and academically stimulated.
To find a nearby Summer Food Service Program meal site, you can:
- Call 211,
- Text *FOODTX to 877-877,
- Visit summerfood.org.
Summer food programs help students succeed by providing the nourishment they need to return to school in the fall ready to thrive in and outside the classroom. To learn how you can help end summer hunger, visit www.ntfb.org/get-involved.
Caroline Mandel, Writer
Caroline Mandel joined the North Texas Food Bank in fall 2018, and is passionate about sharing client stories – the face of hunger is changing and she is committed to raising awareness surrounding hidden hunger and hardship.