It's a challenge making sure that low-income children who get free- and reduced-priced meals during the school year continue to get fed during the summer.
Government meal programs served 3.8 million children on an average summer day last year — far fewer than the 22 million children who got subsidized meals during the school year.
Now, the Obama administration wants to change that. The president will propose in his 2017 budget next month that families who qualify for subsidized school meals be given a special electronic benefits card that will allow them to buy an additional $45 in groceries per child each month when school is out.
"The reality is, obviously, we still have millions of kids that are not getting the help and assistance they need," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the program.
Vilsack says there are many reasons for the summertime drop-off in participation. It's hard to find sites where kids can be fed during the summer, when they're home and schools are closed. This is especially difficult in rural areas, where children live far from any church or public space where meals can be served. They often lack the transportation needed to get there.