More than 17,000 low-income Kentucky children on an average weekday took part in an after-school supper program in 2017. That’s according to a new report by anti-hunger advocacy group Food and Action Research Center. The Kentucky Association of Food Banks said the findings show a need to increase funding for after-school programs for low-income children.
The report shows a 16% increase compared to 2016. Elizabeth Fiehler is the Child and Adult Care Food Program Manager with the Division of School and Community Nutrition under the Kentucky Department of Education.
Fiehler said even though there are more children in an after-school supper program, the numbers still don’t compare to those who participate in the free-lunch program. She said locating where low-income students go when they leave school- whether it’s an after-school program or to their homes- could be beneficial.
“So that’s where I believe we’re really missing out on being able to serve as many children as we could. We’ve got to figure out where those kids are congregating and get those meals incorporated into those existing programs that are out there,” she said.
Fiehler said a program might help in a low-income housing neighborhood where several students might live, for example.
She said more sponsors are needed to start new programs - and funding is needed for those that already exist. Anyone interested can find more information by contacting the Division of School and Community Nutrition with the Kentucky Department of Education.