Millions of low-income students rely on free or low-cost school meals. But when summer vacation starts, the school meals end. This means youth who had access to nutritious meals during the school year may be undernourished or hungry over the summer. While tens of thousands of libraries, community centers, nonprofits, and other organizations nationwide offer free summer meals for school-age youth through this program, unfortunately only one in six youth who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program take advantage of the Summer Food Service Program. Organizations like Share Our Strength say this is partly due to lack of awareness: community members in need don't know about the Summer Food Service Program or don't know where nearby free meal sites are located.
The good news is that there's a new free mobile app called Range that will help trusted adults in a community – such as librarians, church group leaders, youth-focused nonprofit staff, or community volunteers – direct school-age youth to sites that offer free meals. The app was created by Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global, with financial support from Microsoft Citizenship.
Visit the app website to learn more on how to reduce the hunger gap in your community or register for TechSoup for Libraries' upcoming free webinar on May 28. Marnie Webb of Caravan Studios will talk about childhood hunger and resources to reduce the hunger gap in communities; and Michael Cox, director of Public Services at the Pueblo City-County Library District (Colo.), will share his library's experience as a summer meals site.