Twelve locations also will participate in Summer Reading Program to help with back-to-school readiness
— As another school year comes to an end, the city’s Recreation Bureau will once again participate in the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program this year.
Meals will be provided to all eligible youth (18 years of age or younger) and summer day camp program participants who meet the income guidelines for reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program. The income guidelines for reduced-price meals by family size are available upon request (call (330) 375-2826 or email [email protected]).
Children who are part of households that receive foods stamps or benefits under the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are automatically eligible to receive free meals.
Click here for a full list of times and locations for the food program.
“There is nothing more important than making sure our young people have the nutrition they need to grow, learn and live healthy, productive lives,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Research tells us that children who are hungry or food insecure are less likely be in good health, to form friendships, to be curious, and to learn. For some of our families in need, the meals provided by schools are their children’s primary source of nutrition. Through the Summer Food Service Program, we are able to continue to offer our children these essential meals at no cost throughout the summer, so that our students can return to class in the fall healthy and ready to learn.”
In related news, the city also will continue its Summer Reading Program, and is doubling the number of locations in 2018, as part of a partnership with Akron Public Schools (APS) and Summit Education Initiative (SEI). The reading program will take place through Aug. 9. All children are eligible to participate, but the program is targeted at helping Akron students in kindergarten through fifth grade practice their reading with support from a community volunteer. For the convenience of families, all 12 summer reading sites are also sites offering free lunch.
“Our Summer Reading Program, which includes one-on-one sessions with volunteer tutors, helps stem the tide of reading loss and sends students back to school in the Fall, prepared to start the new school year off right,” Horrigan added. “I thank President Sommerville and our partners on City Council, Akron Public Schools, and SEI for once again supporting these critically important programs for Akron’s young people.”
The Summer Reading Program partners are also seeking volunteers to read to students. “This is a great opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of a young person,” Akron City Councilman-at-large Jeff Fuso said of the program. “We encourage everyone to consider volunteering to read with a student—whether that for just one hour or throughout the summer.”
“With each successive summer, we further extend the learning experience. Whether it’s reading, science and math or something in the arts, it is vitally important our students are stimulated over the summer,” added David W. James, superintendent Akron Public Schools.
“After analyzing last year’s program data, we saw significant increased reading gains over the summer for third- through fifth-grade students,” said Cristina González Alcalá, SEI Research Associate. “The program is promising for students in the intermediate grade schools years provided they can attend 15 tutoring sessions or more.”
Acceptance and participation requirements for the food service program and all activities are the same for all residents, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.
Parents interested in registering their children for the Summer Reading Program and community members interested in volunteering should contact Roberta Rogers, Summer Reading Program Coordinator, at (330) 812-7878 or [email protected]. Volunteers may register for a location and a time slot at bit.ly/readingvolunteer.
For info about summer meal program sites or details, contact Audley McGill, City of Akron Food Service Program Coordinator at (330) 375-2826 or [email protected].