Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Kicks-Off Obama Administration's 'United We Serve' Initiative | USDA Newsroom
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News Release

Release No. 0219.09
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Office of Communication (202)720-4623

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AGRICULTURE DEPUTY SECRETARY MERRIGAN KICKS-OFF OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S 'UNITED WE SERVE' INITIATIVE

Highlights USDA's Summer Food Service Program That Helps Feed Hungry Kids During Summer Months

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today took part in the Obama Administration's 'United We Serve' initiative by serving breakfast to kids at Morgan Day Care in Silver Spring, Md. Merrigan was joined by Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Earl "Buddy" Hance, and together they shared nutrition tips with pre-school children at the day care center. Morgan Day Care participates in USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program and runs the Summer Food Service Program at nearby Piney Branch Elementary School.

"President Obama's 'United We Serve' initiative is a challenge to all Americans to participate in building a better future for our country and I believe that there is no better place to start than working toward his goal of ending childhood hunger," said Merrigan. "Too many of kids in our country go hungry over the summer months, and we hope our service today encourages greater participation in USDA's Summer Food Service Program, which is an important effort to ensure that all American children have access to healthy, nutritious food even when school is out for the summer."

USDA's Summer Food Service Program makes a difference in these children's lives by providing access to nutritious lunches when school is out. While the National School Lunch Program serves more than 30.9 million students in schools and residential childcare institutions during the school year, only about 1.4 million children eat a school meal in summer school. USDA's Summer Food Service Program provides breakfasts, lunches or snacks to approximately 2 million additional children.

Available at approximately 32,704 meal sites in parks, schools, camps, churches and other locations nationwide, the Summer Food Service Program makes resources available to promote healthier lifestyles. Targeted to low-income areas where 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, the program serves up to two meals or one meal and one snack per day per child.

To learn more information about where local children can participate, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479.

The Obama Administration's 'United We Serve' initiative is designed make volunteerism and community service part of the daily lives of all Americans to help build a new foundation of service, one community at a time. The United We Serve summer initiative begins on June 22 and runs through the National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11.

The President's call to participate in this program focuses on four key areas where everyone can have a continuing impact in their community: education, health, energy and the environment and community renewal. All Americans can create new service projects, find service projects in their communities and share stories about projects that are making a difference, by visiting the Corporation's website, www.serve.gov.