Summer Meals: Preventing Obesity & Food Insecurity all Summer Long

May 27th, 2016 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Tiffany Jones, Partnership Coordinator for Hunger Free Heartland (HFH), talks to Live Well Omaha Kids about how the summer meals program serves kids who would otherwise lose access to reliable and healthy food during the summer.

HFH also wants to invite YOU to help them celebrate the launch of the summer meals program on June 1 from 11am-1pm at Holling Heights Elementary School in Millard. They’ll highlight how food insecurity is a city-wide issue and how kids everywhere need to eat. The NoWear BMX stunt team will be performing tricks, along with games, activities, and prizes for the entire family. All kids 18 and younger will eat for FREE! Learn more about the event here.

* * *

Summer-Meals-Sign-webWriting from the perspective of an anti-hunger organization, it would be easy for me to highlight just how much of a problem childhood food insecurity is in our country. In fact, in Nebraska, we know that 1 in 5 children go to bed every night not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

But you see, our children aren’t just hungry, they are also gaining weight. In fact, 1 in 4 children are at an unhealthy weight in the metro area.

How can this be?

Research has found that the effects of stress, such as not knowing where to get food, can definitely play a part in it all. But that isn’t the only stepping stone to obesity. In addition, the Food, Research, and Action Center has also found that the following can lead to obesity:

  • a lack of access to healthy, affordable foods
  • cycles of food deprivation and overeating
  • high levels of anxiety and depression
  • fewer opportunities for physical activity

But is there a solution?


During the summer, children can receive free meals from various sites across Nebraska through the Summer Feeding Program. Many of the sites are within walking distance, so transportation isn’t required and physical activity for children is increased. The summer meals program provides healthy, nutritious meals. According to the USDA, breakfast includes a dairy, fruit, vegetable, and whole grain, as does lunch, along with a protein. In addition to the meals being healthy, they are completely free, which makes them affordable for everyone. These meals are also reliable – being served at the same time(s) and on the same day(s) all summer long. This reliability can eliminate the worry of deprivation or the desire to overeat because children can always count on these meals. Plus, these meals also support a sense of community – a time to bond, laugh, smile, play, and have fun –  all while enjoying a healthy breakfast or lunch.

So you see, we do not have to lose hope for the health of our children.

In fact, it truly is possible to prevent childhood obesity and food insecurity this summer through this state-wide program. And that is something worth rejoicing over.

To learn more about the Summer Meals program or to find a site closest to you, please visit:, text EATUP to 877-877 or call 2-1-1.

No Comments »

Leave a Reply

More Posts: