When school lets out for the summer, it’s a time for celebration and warmer weather. But for some kids, it can also become a season of hunger.
According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, over 31.6 million children received low-cost or free lunches throughout the 2012 school year. Without school lunch programs during the summer, many families have a harder time making ends meet. To fight hunger in their local communities, many organizations offer summer food programs when school is out of session.
Let’s look at three ways to visualize summer food programs in the US:
Visualization One: Summer Programs in Your Community
The Maproom in Community Commons hosts many publicly available data sets, including the locations of summer food programs. Below we can see all the summer food sites in St Louis, Missouri.
Visualization Two: Additional Context
The location of summer food programs may differ depending on the resources and needs of the community. By mapping the percent of population below 50% poverty, we can see which summer food sites are in more vulnerable areas. For a higher resolution of the community’s needs throughout the county, we can map the percent of children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at each school.
Visualization Three: Potential Partners
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has developed a list of tips to help include local food and farmers’ markets into summer food programs. To see which farmers’ markets are close to summer food sites, we can layer this data on the map as well.
For more information about farmers’ markets and summer food site partnerships, check out the USDA videos below.