Here’s What the Y and Walmart are Doing to Combat Child Hunger This Summer

Summer lunch program
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The Y is pulling in reinforcements to help end child hunger this summer.

(You thought the good old YMCA was just a place for affordable workout options? Nah. There’s way more going on.)

The Y’s Summer Food Program isn’t new — this is its seventh summer partnering with the Walmart Foundation to curb child hunger.

“The free program, estimated to serve over 7.2 million meals and snacks to nearly 300,000 youth this summer, provides nutritious food, as well as activities, to keep kids’ minds and bodies active when the school year ends,” a release said.

A Y infographic notes that more than 22 million kids get free or reduced lunch during the school year — but only 3.8 million have access to similar programs during the summer.

How Kids Can Get Free Meals Through This Summer Lunch Program

This program is available at nearly 1,900 locations across the country. To find a participating Y facility near you, visit the Summer Food Program website. To find dates and details for the Summer Food Program, your best bet it to call or visit your nearest participating Y.

If you’re in the right region, you might get extra help from a cookbook star. Leanne Brown, author of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day,” will help raise awareness for the organization’s seasonal effort to provide kids with healthy meals — and provide some lessons from her book.

Brown and Y-USA spokesperson Stacey McDaniel will visit Y locations in Greater Boston, Greater Rochester, Middle Tennessee and Greater Indianapolis to share tips on shopping for healthy foods, cooking on a limited food budget and using what you have in your pantry to make that budget go further.

“Good and Cheap” was Brown’s master’s thesis project. It went viral on Reddit before Brown raised $144,000 to print hard copies of the book. For every book sold, Brown donates one to nonprofits that distribute them to people in need.

Read our interview with Brown to learn 11 tips for eating healthy on a budget.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.