WARREN, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited a summer feeding site in Warren today where children can receive free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The program, located at the Laird Community Garden and sponsored by the Warren City School District and the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, is one of nearly 20 sites in Warren where children can get nutritious meals during summer vacation.

“For many families across Ohio, the beginning of summer means vacations and summer camps and barbeques,” Brown said. “But for too many others, it means stress over how to care for children while parents work, or how to feed children nutritious meals without the school lunches they count on throughout the rest of the year. That’s why every year we work to get the word out about the Summer Food Service Program so that families know the end of the school year doesn’t mean an end to food services for their children. Summer break shouldn’t mean going hungry.”

Brown joined Laureen Postlethwait, Supervisor of Food Service Operations for the Warren City School District, who helps run the site where children 45-70 children receive nutritious meals each day during summer vacation.

“The need for good nutrition does not end just because summer vacation begins,” Postlewait said. “Warren City Schools wants to ensure that children do not go hungry during the summer months. The Summer Food Service Program allows us to meet the needs of children in our community.”

In 2015, more than 50,000 Ohio children received free daily meals every day at more than 1,700 sites around Ohio – run by local libraries, churches, schools, and community centers. While the program is reaching tens of thousands of children, only about 10 percent of Ohio children who receive a free meal at school during the year access a summer feeding program. Brown is working to raise awareness so more children can get the healthy meals they need during the summer.

A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Brown authored legislation that expands school lunch programs to ensure Ohio kids can get nutritious meals during summer vacation. The SFSP provides free meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need throughout the summer months when they are out of school. SFSP is run locally by approved sponsors, including school districts, local government agencies, camps, or private nonprofit organizations.

In January, the Senate Agriculture Committee cleared legislation to reauthorize critical childhood nutrition programs and included a provision Brown authored that would increase access to summer federal child nutrition programs by:

  • Making it easier for children in rural areas who can’t get to a feeding site to still get nutritious meals.
  • Allowing children to eat meals off-site once certain conditions are met.

While serving as chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition, and Family Farms, Brown wrote the Hunger-Free Schools Act, which helps reduce paperwork and enroll already-eligible students in childhood nutrition programs through direct certification. Brown’s bill was the centerpiece of the anti-hunger component of a new law enacted in 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.