Filling the Gap - Capital Area Food Bank
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Filling the Gap

By Kendra Rowe Salas August 16, 2010

In the District of Columbia, nearly one in two children is at risk of hunger; and over 200,000 children under 18 in the Washington metro region struggle to get enough food to eat.  While children have access to food during the school year and at some afterschool programs, such as Kids Cafe®, what happens during holidays and on the weekends?

Food banks around the nation offer the BackPack Program (or the Weekend Bag Program at the CAFB), sending children home with a bag or backpack of food for weekend meals.  Currently, there is no Federal funding to offset the cost of providing weekend meals, but the Weekends Without Hunger Act offers much-needed funding to support these programs.

From Feeding America
Weekends Without Hunger

Rep. Dina Titus (NV-3) and Senator Arlen Specter (PA) recently introduced the “Weekends Without Hunger Act” (H.R. 5012/S. 3292). This legislation establishes a 5-year pilot program, beginning in FY 2011, that provides commodities to eligible institutions, such as schools and emergency food providers, to carry out projects that would provide nutritious food to at-risk school children on weekends and during extended school holidays during the school year. Eligible institutions must be located in low-income communities, meaning at least 50% of the children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals. Each fiscal year a minimum of $10 million in new funding would be provided for the purchase of commodities. An interim and final evaluation would be completed in 2013 and 2015 respectively.  Click here for more information on the Weekend Without Hunger Act.

The risk of hunger during out of school times was recently reported on CNN, featuring our partner organization Frederick Douglass Community Center, which has both a Kids Cafe and Weekend Bag program in operation year-round.

For more information about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, including the Weekends Without Hunger Act, visit the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).