Education, Farmworker Children, Health & Safety, Nutrition

Food Bank Launches Migrant Farm Worker Initiative

From DelMarVaNow.com, Alyson Cunningham, 5 Jul 2011.

Program provides meals to kids enrolled in educational projects

MILTON [DE] — A new initiative spearheaded by the Delaware Food Bank and the state’s Migrant Education Program will provide meals for students enrolled in two summer projects.

The MEP is a federally funded project that ensures all migrant students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma, or a GED, that will prepare them for the future.

In Delaware, the students usually migrate from other states to perform seasonal and temporary jobs in agriculture. The MEP program provides supplemental, instructional and support services to migrant children ages 3-21, whose parents are employed by the agricultural community.

Like the other Department of Education summer food programs, the department sub grants to two local operating agencies — the Eagles Nest Christian Academy and the Milford Boys and Girls Club — that host summer projects, said Terry Richard, education associate for bilingual, ESL and migrant programs.

“Milford Boys and Girls Club will provide meals to the migrant students enrolled at their migrant summer school through food (and) meals received by the DFB,” she said. “Students at both schools will receive food boxes at their homes provided by the DFB as a part of their targeted assistance program.”

Migrant students usually qualify for free or reduced-price lunches when they are in school, and while the DFB offers summer food service, these children would most likely not have access to these resources while they are traveling.

Access to quality food and nutrition is often beyond the reach of migrant families for several reasons, Richard said, including annual incomes below the poverty line as well as limited refrigeration and cooking facilities.

“Schedules in peak agricultural season range from pre-dawn to post-dusk,” Richard said, which leaves “little time available for meal preparation and in some families, the entire family may work in the fields.”

David Bowman, program manager for Community Nutrition Programs with the DOE, said the DFB functions as a sponsor to reach out to organizations to provide these meals.

“It’s one of the ways to try to get a safety net over the children,” he said.

acunningh@dmg. gannett.com

302-537-1881, ext. 204

Source: DelMarVaNow.com, “Food Bank launches migrant farm worker initiative” by Alyson Cunningham, 5 Jul 2011.

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