While adults often reminisce about their care-free childhood summers, this time of year means a loss of critical resources for many kids across our state. Eighty percent of California students who rely on the health and academic benefits of free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss out on similar meals during the summer. That results in a summer nutrition gap that cuts across our state, affecting nearly two million of our most vulnerable children.
Research and common sense tell us that kids need year-round access to nutritious meals. They need those meals to learn, grow, and achieve at their fullest potential. The good news: California’s summer nutrition gap is sizeable, but not inevitable.
Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for Children is a well-tested solution that provides low-income families with nutrition assistance benefits to purchase food when school is out and students lose access to affordable school meals. Summer EBT has been found to:
Reduce food insecurity among children and their families,
Reduce consumption of sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, and
Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Summer EBT works, but it’s not yet at work everywhere, and California’s children lack access. Representative Susan Davis (CA-53) and Senator Patty Murray (WA) have introduced the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015 to make Summer EBT a reality for kids across the country.
Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on food security in Alameda County.
We’ve talked before about how the economic prosperity of the Bay Area has not trickled down to all populations in the region, but in today’s Friday Facts we’ll see some striking disparities in the East Bay.
Food security, simply put, is the ability to afford enough food on a consistent basis. In today’s Friday Facts chart, we can see the rates of food insecurity, by race and ethnicity, among people in Alameda County living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Among this population, African Americans (57.4%) are more than twice as likely as Whites (26.9%) to be unable to afford food on a consistent basis, and Latinos (50.2%) are nearly twice as likely. These families often have to make the difficult choice between food and other basic needs.