By Rebecca Gaston
Child hunger still exists in Kansas. One in five Kansas children is without access to enough nutritionally adequate foods and is considered food insecure. Approximately one-half of Kansas public school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school. But on weekends, holidays and other school breaks, many of these Kansas kids do not have adequate access to regular meals.
This weekend, students will have an extended break for Thanksgiving, which means four or five days between meals at school, and many of them do not know if there will be enough food at home during the break. At a time when the temperature is falling and gas bills are rising, many low-income families have fewer resources available to purchase food.
It gets worse during longer breaks. In the summer, when kids are out of school from late May until August, only 7 percent of eligible kids are receiving meals through the Summer Food Services Program, putting Kansas in 50th place for meeting low-income kids’ summer meal needs.
To help improve access to food among hungry kids and other vulnerable groups in Kansas, Kansas Appleseed and Kansas Action for Children are coming together with representatives from school districts, statewide government agencies and other non-profits to form the Kansas Food Security Roundtable. We’ll be meeting often to make plans to create and expand programs and outreach events that will improve access to foods all over Kansas. We are committed to ending food insecurity in Kansas.
Kansas Appleseed is a nonprofit, nonpartisan justice center dedicated to vulnerable and excluded Kansans.