The Summer Food Gap

Hunger is worse for kids in the summertime — but you can help

Every school day, more than 20 million children receive a free school lunch. It’s a daily lifeline for many families that cannot afford consistent, nutritious meals for every member of their household. But in the summer when school is out, millions of children lose access to those critical meals, and family food budgets are stretched thin.

For millions of kids, that means going without good food.

USDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs provide funding for healthy meals at sites that typically provide educational and recreational activities during the summer, such as community centers, libraries and pools. But not enough families know about or can easily access these free, healthy meals in the summertime.

In fact, according to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), in July 2021, only a third of children who received free school lunch also received a summer lunch. In other words, two-thirds of kids who are eligible for free school lunch aren’t getting those free meals in the summer. That’s the summer food gap.

Hunger can have devastating — and long-term — consequences for children. Not only are children who don’t get enough to eat more likely to face a higher risk of health conditions such as asthma and anemia, they’re also more likely to struggle in school and to have social and behavioral problems.

And the increasingly high inflation rate coupled with the end of emergency SNAP benefits will likely make hunger worse this summer for families already struggling.

That’s why Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is working to fill the summer food gap — so families can thrive, not just survive. We believe that every family, in every zip code in America should have access to good food. We’re doing that through our commitment to add 100 million servings of fruits and vegetables to the marketplace by 2025, with a focus on communities that lack affordable and sustainable options. Because access to affordable, good food shouldn’t be dependent on the season.

And we’ve teamed up with our partner Instacart to ensure good food gets to families when they need it most. Now through the end of June, Instacart will TRIPLE every new monthly gift to PHA, up to $30,000, so that every family, in every zip code in America can access good food all summer long. Donate now to feed families when they need it most.