The County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency is leveraging federal stimulus funding by implementing a Summer Nutrition program that will feed over 4,000 low-income children this summer, when schools are closed and feeding sites are limited.

Concerned about the limited number of summer feeding sites in the County, the Safety Net Committee, chaired by the County Social Services Agency and Second Harvest Food Bank, invited the community to join the County-sponsored and newly formed Safety Net Summer Nutrition Collaborative. Together, interested members designed an innovative program that combines healthy nutritional meals with a wide variety of camp and educational programs.

The County estimates that it will spend over $5,346,000 in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF Emergency Contingency Funds, provided through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to subsidize the Summer Nutrition Program.

“Unlike school, hunger does not take a break,” said County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager. “Thanks to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds we can assist parents who are struggling to provide a basic necessity to their families.”

“This is an exciting solution taking place in real time, to address a real need in our community. Child hunger is a serious problem that can deter growth and development of a child,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chair of the Legislative and the Health and Hospital Committees. “We are one of only a few counties in California to provide this type of program and we’re grateful to be able to help children spend their summer in a healthful, learning and growing environment.”

The YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Mexican Heritage Corporation, First 5 Santa Clara County, City of San Jose’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, and Revolution Foods, have teamed up to staff over 40 feeding sites throughout the county for the 8-10 week program, which ends on August 20. Eligible low-income children, ages 0-18, will be able to participate in the camps, receive a healthy breakfast, lunch, and two snacks every day.

“This summer, one-time federal dollars allowed Santa Clara County to address hunger for our low-income children due to the concerted coordination, commitment and creativity of our long-time safety net partners,” said Will Lightbourne, Director of Santa Clara County Social services Agency

“Everyone involved, from children and parents to the participating organizations, is very pleased with the results the Safety Net Nutrition Program,” added Denise Boland, Social Services Administrator. “We just wish the funding were extended an additional year so we can continue to make a difference in the lives of these young residents.”