BEREA, Ky. — KY Kids Eat, in partnership with Anthem Medicaid, has awarded $25,000 in grant funding to 17 summer food service sponsors across the commonwealth to support mobile summer meals or enrichment programs at meal sites this summer. Grant recipients are Allen County Schools, Carter County Schools, Frankfort Independent Schools, the Housing Authority of Maysville, KCEOC Community Action, Logan County Public Library, Mayfield Graves County YMCA, UMC Food Ministries, Williamsburg Independent Schools, Woodford County Schools, Ashland Independent Schools, Berea College, Crittenden County Schools, Danville Public Schools, Harlan County Boys and Girls Club, LaRue County Schools, and Paducah Public Schools.
Summer is the most vulnerable time for hungry Kentucky kids. Over 220,000 children in Kentucky are at risk of hunger, and during the summertime, schools and nonprofits work to ensure that every child has access to nutritious meals. The KY Kids Eat Coalition, a cross-sector collaboration, identified mobile meals and enrichment programs as key factors in the success of summer meal programs this year.
Mobile meals are an innovation in the summer meals program that has proven success in Kentucky, particularly in rural areas where children are hard to reach or urban areas where it may be difficult for kids to safely congregate at a meal site. Enrichment activities at summer meal sites can be critical to ensuring Kentucky kids are reaching educational benchmarks when they go back to school.
“Anthem Medicaid is honored to support KY Kids Eats’ mobile meals and enrichment programs, which are effectively helping the state’s most vulnerable children gain access the proper nutrition they need to maintain their health and improve their overall wellbeing,” said Celia Manlove, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kentucky Medicaid president. “We stand united with KY Kids Eat in the fight against hunger and will continue to work together to ensure progress and positive outcomes for our communities.”
Summer food service program sponsors understand that by offering meals, they are creating a positive community for Kentucky kids. “It is our passion to ensure that the needs of our community are met when school is out. This grant will allow us to create a more fun, inviting environment for students and their families this summer!”, says Lynsi Barnhill with Paducah Public Schools. Paducah Schools has 11 mobile meal sites that will serve children this summer.
Cathy Gallagher, Section Supervisor for the Summer Food Service Program at the Kentucky Department of Education, highlights the impact of enrichment programming at summer meal sites. “We are so thrilled when sponsors offer enrichment activities. This helps ensure the children are engaged mentally and socially while they are having a meal. Participation is also better at meal sites when enrichment activities are offered. The cost for enrichment is not part of federal reimbursement, so it is often a financial sacrifice on the part of participating organizations to offer these activities. We are grateful for the financial help Anthem Medicaid made available this year to increase the possibility of feeding minds along with tummies!”
KY Kids Eat believes that no child should grow up hungry and that partnership is key to ending childhood hunger in Kentucky. Kate McDonald, KY Kids Eat Coordinator says, “This support for mobile meals and enrichment programs not only ensure that kids are fed this summer, but also creates a culture of innovation and creativity within the summer meals community. ”
To locate a summer meal site in your neighborhood or community, text FOOD to 877-877
— Kentucky Association of Food Banks
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