Alexandria, Va. –Islamic Relief USA, a non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to 11 organizations throughout the country to help feed kids this summer, as part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program. Many children had already become used to the grab-and-go lunches that were distributed in the latter part of the school year, when schools shut down due to the novel coronavirus and students had to learn remotely. Fortunately, with the grants provided by Islamic Relief USA, children under the age of 18 who come from low-income households that qualify for free or reduced-price lunch will continue to those nutritious mid-day meals during their summer breaks, thanks to summer lunch programs that are being provided by various organizations, houses of worship, and other entities.
“Every year, Islamic Relief USA looks to support underprivileged young people and families through our summer feeding grant program,” said Sharif Aly, CEO of Islamic Relief USA. “There are so many children receiving at least one meal during the school year. We continue that service during the summer. These grants make it possible to continue providing nutritious meals to those kids during their summer vacations, and they also provide communities some peace of mind. With the current coronavirus pandemic, such services are especially needed as many families struggle to provide enough food because of the economic slowdown and loss of jobs.”
Collectively, the Islamic Relief USA grants will help provide meals to thousands of children. The entities that received the grants are:
St. James Missionary Baptisht Church – St. Louis, Mo.
D & R Sports Foundation – Marrero, La.
FJV Foundation – DeSoto, Texas
Support Life Foundation – Oakland, Ca.
Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development – Bronx, N.Y.
Zaman International – Inkster, Mich.
Diamond Girl Rock Dynasty Nonprofit Music Organization – Laveen, Ariz.
Al Maun of Las Vegas – Las Vegas, Nev.
Al Maa’uun – Minneapolis, Minn.
Sadaqah 4 You Inc. – Philadelphia, Pa.
Muslim Social Services Agency – Baltimore, Md.
More than 22 million children and teens receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year through the National School Lunch Program, according to the USDA. However, as of last year, only one out of those six kids participated in the summer meals programs, increasing the likelihood of them going hungry.
Inadequate nutrition can have a devastating impact in the lives of children. Hunger can affect brain development and makes it more difficult for them to concentrate and learn in school, putting them at risk for chronic health issues and performing poorly on achievement tests.
The USDA, which encourages summer meal programs like the ones supported by Islamic Relief USA, recommends that healthy lunches include fresh fruits, whole grains, colorful vegetables, proteins such as lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
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