With half of all public school students coming from low-income homes, summer time can mean food insecurity for children. More than 21 million school children nationwide receive free or reduced price lunches during the school year. But just 14 percent receive a free summer meal when school is out, according to USDA.
The Arby’s Foundation is helping fill the gap with 4 million free meals this summer in the form of 400,000 meal cards each good for 10 kid’s meals apiece.
The “School’s Out, Food’s In” program last year access to more than 1.6 million meals to children in need across the country.
“For the first time in history, more than half of public school students are from low-income families,” said Arby’s Foundation Executive Director Chris Fuller. “Through our annual ‘School’s Out, Food’s In’ program, the Arby’s Foundation is committed to providing wholesome food options, so that three million children don’t lose access to nutritious meals.”
Childhood hunger can often go unseen in communities, For instance, Florida has a food insecurity rate of 26 percent — meaning one in four children don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. In Pinellas County, FL, alone, the Arby’s Foundation is giving away 10,000 meal cards this summer.
“Summer can be a challenging time for families and as the last bell of the school year rings, it’s sad to know that some of our students will have limited access to meals,” said Lori Matway, Associate Superintendent, Student and Community Support Services, Pinellas County Schools. “Thankfully, the Arby’s Foundation has designed an easy, accessible method to ensure children have access to meals during the summer. We are honored to participate in the ‘School’s Out, Food’s In’ program for the third consecutive year in an effort to end childhood hunger in Tampa.”
The Arby’s Foundation has provided access to more than seven million meals in local markets through the “School’s Out, Food’s In” initiative since its inception in 2014.
The Arby’s Foundation was established more than 30 years ago and has donated more than $80 million to various youth-related causes across America, with a specific focus on childhood hunger since 2011. As part of the brand’s year-round commitment to ending childhood hunger, every purchase of an Arby’s Kids Meal helps fund the work of the Arby’s Foundation.
For more information on the Arby’s Foundation and ways to get involved, visit www.arbysfoundation.org.