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Minnesota Vikings, Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Second Harvest Heartland to Help Secure 200,000 Meals for Hungry Minnesota Children This Summer
Date:5/27/2009

know that many Minnesota families struggle to provide healthy and satisfying meals for their children during the summer, which is why the USDA's Summer Food Service Program is so critical. We are grateful for the generosity, ingenuity and leadership the Minnesota Vikings, Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Second Harvest Heartland have provided in improving the participation rate in Minnesota."

One of the leading contributing factors to low participation rates in the Summer Food Service program in Minnesota is a lack of sites that serve food. While more than 2,000 schools statewide served free or reduced-price meals during the 2007/2008 school year, only 370 sites served them during the summer of 2008. The Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program is helping to expand the Summer Food Service Program by using grant money from the Minnesota Vikings to secure new meal sites and expand the reach of existing sites.

"A lack of access to the food they need is one of the greatest barriers to Minnesota children participating in the Summer Food Service program," said Rob Zeaske, executive director of Second Harvest Heartland. "Already, the Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program has added more than 40 new summer meal sites statewide, which will help us significantly in achieving our goal of securing up to 200,000 additional meals for eligible children this summer."

According to Zeaske, securing an additional 200,000 meals for Minnesota children this summer will result in a 14 percent increase in the number of total free or reduced-price meals served when school is out. In 2008, 1.4 million meals were served in Minnesota through the Summer Food Service Program. The Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program aims to increase that number to 1.6 million.

"We know that the need for hunger relief has never been greater. Weak economic conditions and rising food insecurity, especially as it affects child hunge
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SOURCE Minnesota Vikings
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