Nearly half of public school students in Washington state receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school – about half a million children. But when school’s out for summer, it can be a struggle for low-income families to make their food budgets stretch.
Now U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is sponsoring a bill to give low-income families food benefits over the summer months so kids don’t go hungry.
Kids like Dara Kommavangsa’s two daughters, who attend Seattle Public Schools. Kommavangsa said during the school year, she counts on school breakfast and lunch for her kids and just makes them dinner.
But summers are tough.
Although there are free summer meals available at community centers and other sites, Kommavangsa said her daughters are among the 90 percent of low-income Washington children who don’t take advantage of the programs.
“Yes, there is a lot of summer meal program sites out there, but is it reachable, is the thing. If your parents aren’t there at home, how are you able to go to a site?” Kommavangsa said.
Instead, her family relies on food banks and their own garden to get enough to eat in the summer months.