The Wyoming Department of Education is looking for local sponsors for a federal program that provides free meals to low-income students over the summer.
When school’s out, kids can get meals at 83 different sites across the state. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the sites are run by school districts or community groups like YMCAs.
WDE nutrition programs consultant Amanda Anderson says those sites alone can’t serve all of the state’s students who get free and reduced school lunches during the year.
“About 38 percent of Wyoming’s children qualify for free and reduced-price meals during the regular school year,” says Anderson. “Thirty-eight percent is pretty high. In some communities, it’s higher. In some communities, it’s lower. But we want those children to not fall behind nutritionally in the summer months.”
Summer nutrition assistance is provided to about half of those kids.
“We are only reaching maybe 19 percent of those in the summer months, that’s a really big gap that we’re missing there,” says Anderson.
WDE would like to see about 95 summer nutrition sites across the state. Anderson says the Department is also working to develop mobile food distribution centers, to provide food to children in rural areas.