Summer Food Program

Generously sponsored by Walmart


Join Us at an Open Site This Summer

Let's partner up to fuel your child's future through healthy meals, fun activities and new friends. Visit Find a Y or download a full list of participating locations to locate a summer food program open site in your community.

Join Us at a Summer Food Program Open Site

Enter your city, state, or zip code to locate a participating open site for the summer food program in your communuity.

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Feeding Bodies, Fueling Success

When the final school bells ring and summer break begins, millions of kids are at risk of going hungry. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 16.7 million children receive free or reduced-cost meals through the National School Lunch Program, but only 2.3 million of these kids continue to receive meals through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

As part of our commitment to keeping kids healthy, the Y and Walmart Foundation are partnering to provide 4.7 million meals and snacks to 200,000 kids and teens at 1,100 locations in communities throughout the nation this summer. Any child 18 and under can participate in the program to get their “fill of food and fun” – receiving nutritious meals and snacks, while also enjoying recreational and learning activities to keep their bodies and minds active.

Summer Food Blog

From preparing healthy meals to meeting new friends, YMCAs participating in this year's summer food program walk us through their thoughts and activities.  Join us for an exclusive, inside look at the summer food program from the very staff and volunteers running the program!

Where there is a will, There is a Y!

by Ricky Wright
YMCA of Lansing (Lansing, MI)
posted on 6/24/15

One of the great parts about working for the YMCA of Lansing is seeing the impact we have in our local communities.  Making that impact starts with the ability to recognize the need.  In Lansing, MI our YMCA has made it a priority to offer enrichment activities and year round food programs to the pockets of our communities that need it most. 

After some careful consideration we realized as an organization we were uniquely qualified to reach a growing population--refugees newly settled to the Lansing, MI area. The program began at our Downtown Wellness location, right in the heart of Downtown Lansing.

The goal for the program is to give refugee parents the tools needed to be advocates to help their children succeed in Lansing, and to teach the family unit basic understanding of societal norms.  The program provides acculturation, not assimilation.  Participants in the program complete a pre and post survey that measures their views on their acclimation to American cultural norms, according to each of the topics presented in the curriculum, and their ability to confidently address their children’s needs. 

Long term, we believe the program will help parents build skills to obtain jobs, advocate for their children’s education, and maintain a healthy, happy home life.     

As the program began we recognized that many of the families were living well below the poverty level and were not experiencing healthy and nutritious meals or snacks on a daily basis.  The Y began providing meals to these families as part of the classes and then expanded into serving these meals in the apartment complex where they primarily lived.  Having recognized that access to adequate nutrition was an issue (i.e. transportation) we moved the meals to them. 

This has led to the creation of the very first YMCA of Lansing mobile kitchen, set to roll out in July of 2015.  This “kitchen” has been very generously donated by our areas largest transportation company and strong community advocate. We cannot wait to see the impact that our rolling kitchen will make in community pockets all over Lansing, the Tri County area and even Central Michigan!  Our resident camp Mystic Lake YMCA Camp is located 100 miles north of Lansing and we plan to take our kitchen on the road.

"Happy Cow" and "Sad Cow"!

by Renea Wood
The YMCA of Klamath Falls (Klamath Falls, OR)
posted on 6/18/15

Hurrying through our process of cost effective, efficient foods in our Year Round Food Programs we seldom slow down and really reflect on how we can make food more attractive to kids.  We often miss the big picture: What can we do to encourage kids to eat?  Sometime a little more prep time and little salesmanship can make all the difference.

At our YMCA we have learn that sometimes it’s all in the presentation and sometimes its’ how you sell it.  We’ve mixed things up by placing peanut butter on spoons or in dipping cups so kids can eat it how they want.  We’ve even been known to make butterflies out of cheese.  But, the most important thing we have learned with preschoolers is talking about the cow that worked hard on making the milk encourages milk drinking. 

Our head Preschool Teacher has developed the “Happy Cow” and “Sad Cow” meal time.  She realized that the image of a happy cow on the carton of milk was frowning at her when she dumps out large amounts of remaining milk.   She started talking more about the hard working cow that makes delicious milk to help build strong kids. 

Happy Cow = most of the milk was drank by the child
Sad Cow = a lot of milk remained in the milk carton

As she drains the remaining milk of each child’s carton she engages the whole lunch group so everyone can get excited when there is a Happy Cow in the group and be sad when there is a Sad Cow in the bunch. Milk consumption shot up after the introduction of Happy Cow.  Now everyone gets excited at the end of lunch time, waiting to see how many Happy Cows there are in the room.

Try “Happy Cow” with your kids this year, and you too can have a Happy Cow Summer!

Community Collaborations Are the Key!

by Renea Wood
The YMCA of Klamath Falls (Klamath Falls, OR)
posted on 6/15/15

In the past, childhood hunger in our county has been handled piecemeal by various nonprofits. As a result, no single entity has been held accountable to ensure no kid goes hungry...

Until now.  Klamath Basin Summer Food Program Coalition is committed to ending childhood hunger in Klamath County, and we’re rallying and uniting the various organizations and entities needed to make this a reality.

While there are many of campaigns nationwide, we work on a local level through county-based partnerships to empower existing local organizations. These sustainable partnerships are fighting childhood hunger in our county.  For the first time we’re working together with the best of the best to end childhood hunger—together.

The three summer food site sponsors are at the table to unite together to promote all summer food sites.  The Klamath Basin Summer Food Program Coalition plans to unite survey strategies, review youth attendance barriers, and create strategies for success for the following summer of 2016.  The Coalition will have the help of an Oregon Institute of Technology extern who will assemble research about Klamath County and its hungry youth.  This data will combine with the site surveys to better help the Coalition to make a stronger impact on next summer’s food programs.

Due to its effectiveness via shared vision, Community Collaboration is the only way we can have an impact to make sure no kids goes hungry, period.

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.