Walmart Foundation Kicks-Off Summer by Continuing Commitment to Out-Of-School Feeding

Did you know that when school lets out that millions of low-income children who benefit from lunch programs during the school year go without access to meals during the summer? Or that most kids don’t eat the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and exceed the maximum daily intake of sodium?

Neither did I. It wasn’t until I sat in on a conference call last week to learn about all that the Walmart Foundation does to help kids get eating right all summer long. I learned about the “Summer Slide” about tips to eating better and ways to help stretch a budget all while keeping your children engaged all summer long.


What is the “Summer Slide” and why is Walmart concerned about it? 

During the school year, kids’ brains are working more and they have more active schedules. They are actually healthier during the school year, but in the summertime a couple things happen that create a Summer Slide. Nutrition goes down in priority and it’s most likely a time that kids will gain the most weight.   Walmart is concerned about this, especially because there are 19.6 million kids in the U.S. who fall into the “hunger gap.” These are low-income children who rely on low and reduced-price school lunches during the school year. But during the summer, they lack the nutrition they need!   Walmart knows that eating regular, nutritious meals benefits children’s health and development, keeps them focused, less stressed and more prone to learning.

This is why the Walmart Foundation is giving $14 million in grants will go to 5 non-profits to help provide 1.7 million children and families with access free meals and nutrition education. Those 5 non-profits are:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Increase access to healthy food and nutrition education for children and parents outside of school in eight U.S. cities.
Food Research and Action Center: Increase access, participation and awareness of nutrition programs that provide meals to children across the country during the school year and summer months.
National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families: Expand afterschool and summer nutrition initiatives and implement year-long feeding programs for more than 25,000 low-income children across the country.
Texas Hunger Initiative: Expand sponsorship and locations for summer and afterschool meal programs throughout Texas, while increasing participation by 583,000 children.
YMCA of the USA: Expand the YMCA’s Summer Food Program at more than 2,300 sites to provide children with access to meals outside of school year-round.

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Now that my boys are home I try to make sure that we have plenty of healthy snacks available to them and that are easy for them to grab. I find that if I do one large shopping trip and bulk up on lots of fresh produce and snacks and then have the kids help me wash them and then break them down into individual portions it makes for much better choices over the following weeks. We also portion out fruit that we have and freeze them for making milkshakes, smoothies, and fresh popsicles.

Getting the children involved helps them learn about what choices are good and what healthy portions sizes are. Having them help also helps us not have to spend so many hours in the kitchen doing prep work. Later on I’ll have the boys help me with baking and cooking too. Not only is it fun for them and a help for me but they are also practicing many other skills while doing so.

Here are some more great tips from Walmart:

Make Sure Your Kids Eat Healthy This Summer

Preparation: Kids Can Meal Plan Too

  • Pick recipes for the week and talk to your kids about ingredients needed
  • Ask kids to help with the grocery list
  • Bring kids to the grocery store
  • Visit a farmers market or local farm

Storage: Color-Coded Foods

  • Color coding cuts down on “nagging”
  • Green: Eat all the time
  • Yellow: Eat sometimes
  • Red: Eat once a week
  • Make healthy snacks visible and easy to grab on the way out the door

Meal Time: Enjoying a Fun, Relaxed Time Together

  • Make meal time “unplugged time”
  • Introduce new foods in quarter-sized portions for picky eaters
  • Connect with other moms and cook healthy meals together
  • Start a family kindness box to open at each meal

Don’t forget to be active this summer too. Make sure your children know that the right nutrition also involves getting exercise. Take a bike ride, hike some trails, go swimming! These are all great ways for your children to enjoy the summer months and keep their bodies healthy and their brains always turning!

Do you have any great summer tips to share?


  1. courtney b says

    i love that walmart gives back. nutrition is important in young kids and we all know during the summer kids will eat junk!

  2. Janet W. says

    These are all great tips to keep kids active, healthy, and happy this summer!

  3. Julie Wood says

    I am so happy to see that Walmart is giving money to nonprofits to help feed hungry children! It is so important during the summer months that kids get fruits and vegetables. I like the color coding that is posted to help with kids eating.

  4. I work in head start and know how difficult it is for so many families to feed their children. During the summer it is so much harder with kids out of school. I’m so happy to see Walmart giving back and helping to feed these children that are in so much need.

  5. I know a lot of the kids in our neighborhood gets their meals at our school over the summer, thanks to companies and organizations such as Walmart.

  6. Tiffany Schmidt says

    It’s nice to see corporate giants giving back. Unfortunately without their help these days, it could be alot worse.

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