Governor Susana Martinez Helps Recruit Summer Food Partners

Governor and CYFD Secretary Say Need Is Highest In Doña Ana, McKinley, and San Juan Counties

03.12.2012

ALBUQUERQUE — Governor Susana Martinez says she wants to see more New Mexico kids eat healthy lunches during the summer months and announced today that New Mexico organizations have stepped up to partner with the state’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) and the Summer Food Service Program.

Today at Albuquerque’s South Broadway Cultural Center, Governor Martinez screened a video, Summer Hunger, designed to recruit more Summer Food Service Program sponsors and sites. The video (http://vimeo.com/37152475) was conceived and produced by New Mexico Appleseed, a non-profit organization that targets hunger issues. New Mexico Appleseed partnered with CYFD and other community organizations to film the video and recruit more summer food sponsors and sites.

"Over the summer, New Mexico spends at least $6 million federal dollars a year to feed kids who might otherwise go hungry," said Governor Martinez. "The more lunch sites we have, the more kids we can reach through this program. CYFD’s Summer Food Service Program leverages federal dollars to fill the summer nutrition gap."

Summer Hunger promotes the opportunity for schools, nonprofits, and units of government to provide federally reimbursable meals to children during the summer, when children struggling with hunger lose access to school meals. CYFD Secretary Yolanda Deines said the Summer Food Service Program reaches only a fraction of the children in need. She says more sponsors and sites will make the program more accessible to children in New Mexico.

"Your community building or place of faith could become a site where we are able to serve healthy, nutritious lunches to kids in need," says Deines. "Each site location must work with a Summer Food Service Program sponsor that is financially and administratively responsible for the meal service at the site. You can also help by coordinating site participation with other youth activity programs in your area."

"Being a sponsor requires the highest level of commitment," Deines continued. Sponsoring means acting as the administrator for the Summer Food Service Program sites. Public or private non-profit schools, local, municipal, county, tribal or state governments, private non-profits, public or private non-profit camps, and private or non-profit universities or colleges are examples of local organizations that often serve as Summer Food Service Program sponsors. The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are perfect examples of exemplary partners for the summer food program.

The Summer Food Service Program was created by Congress in 1968 as an extension of the National School Lunch Program. The program is run by CYFD with federal dollars providing 100 percent of the funding.

CYFD and New Mexico Appleseed are recruiting additional sponsors and sites throughout New Mexico, but officials say there are three counties with a particular need this year: Doña Ana, McKinley and San Juan. All three counties have either lost sponsors this year or have been underserved due to a lack of sponsors in the area.

“I urge organizations in these counties, and throughout the state, to watch this important video and call CYFD and get information on how to be a partner in the Summer Food Service Program," concluded Governor Martinez. "Taking the first step couldn’t be easier. Call 1-800-EAT-COOL."