Governor Susana Martinez, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry and CYFD Secretary Yolanda Deines joined kids today in Albuquerque's Tiguex Park to kick-off this year's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Governor Martinez also issued a proclamation declaring this week "Summer Food Program Week" throughout New Mexico.
"Throughout the school year, our kids can receive free and reduced price meals through school," says Governor Susana Martinez. "But during the summer months it's harder for lower-income school-age kids to access nutritious meals. New Mexico's Children, Youth, and Families Department teams up with the federal government and local partners, like the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, to provide summer lunches to New Mexico kids. This is an important program that helps keep our children healthy and well-fed throughout the year."
To find a meal site in your area visit http://www.summerfoodnm.org or call 1-800-EAT-COOL. Children 18 and younger may receive free meals and snacks through SFSP. Meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities, over age 18, who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.
"Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again," says Deines. "Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need."
The Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers SFSP at the Federal level. In New Mexico, the Family Nutrition Bureau of the Children Youth and Families Department administers the Summer Food Service Program. Locally, the SFSP is run by approved sponsors, including school districts, local government agencies, camps, or private nonprofit organizations. Sponsors provide free meals to a group of children at a central site, such as a school or a community center. CYFD uses federal funds to reimburse local sponsors for each meal they serve.
This summer, CYFD has 58 sponsors serving 685 sites statewide. Last year CYFD served an average of 47,000 meals a day, for a total of 1.8 million meals over the entire summer.