Fostering Partnerships and Maximizing ResourcesWhat makes our partnership unique? We work in concert without losing our individual identities as private and public, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. We work strategically to address childhood hunger by maximizing federal food and nutrition programs—effectively surrounding children with nutritious food wherever they live, learn, and play. We enhance our prospects for success by removing barriers and increasing access to these programs at the federal, state, and community levels:
When school lets out, children from low-income families lose access to the free meals they receive during the regular school year. The summer nutrition programs are there to fill this gap. The costs of meals provided by community nonprofits are federally reimbursed. The meals meet USDA nutritional standards and draw children to safe, supervised settings with educational enrichment and recreational activities. All children can receive meals at open summer nutrition sites.
In December 2010, Congress expanded the federal Afterschool Meal Program (AMP) nationally, providing a new resource in Florida for addressing hunger and under nutrition among children who don't receive a balanced meal until their next one at school. The AMP reimburses schools and nonprofits $2.99 for each nutritious supper provided in afterschool programs in low-income neighborhoods, allowing up to 15% to be used for administrative costs.
The School Breakfast Program's free and reduced-price meals for low-income children adhere to federal nutrition standards and are available in virtually all Florida schools. Still less than half of those students receiving free or reduced-price school lunches also participate in school breakfast, losing the state upwards of $43 million in federal reimbursement dollars if just 60% of those students ate breakfast at school.
The SNAP/Food Stamp Program—the largest USDA nutrition assistance program—seeks to increase food purchasing power for all eligible households. In Florida, over half of those individuals receiving SNAP benefits are children or elders. Over 3 million Floridians participate in SNAP, a dramatic increase of 117% over the last five years. Over $5 billion in benefits (2011) helped Florida's families meet household food budgets while providing a local economic stimulus of $1.79 for every $1.00 in SNAP benefits.