June officially kicks off summer vacation for most students, giving them a break from the school setting. However, once school is no longer in session, millions of children across the country who depend on school-provided meals no longer have access to these meals, which include milk and dairy foods. For children who live in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, food insecurity is a reality. Without intervention, over the summer months, millions of American children will likely be unable to access the healthy foods they need for optimal growth and development in these key growing years.

Scientific evidence links food insecurity to poor health outcomes. With so many children and adolescents overweight and undernourished, providing access to nutritious and wholesome foods as well as nutrition education is essential to helping them reach their full potential as adults. Addressing food insecurity, especially among our most vulnerable populations, is not something any single organization can do alone; it requires collaborative efforts from organizations at the federal, state, and local levels.

This is why Dairy Council of California is proud to be a partner of California State Senator Richard Pan’s Million Meals Summer Initiative to increase access to free summer meals. Through key partnerships with other organizations, including the California Department of Education, public libraries, local school districts, the United Way, and local community organizations, we are able to support larger statewide summer meal programs offered in communities across California. These programs offer a critical safety net for children, ages 0 to 18, by giving them access to free, nutritious meals while schools are closed.

Working with partners who have aligned values, Dairy Council of California is able to help ensure children and families benefit from these critical food access programs available in our communities. Through the support of California’s dairy community, we are able to educate and empower key change agents, fostering optimal health in communities where people live, learn, work, and play.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
June 10, 2019
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