CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) and Sunflower Foundation (SFF) have awarded $1.2 million in grant funding to 118 school districts and community partners – including districts in Crawford County – to help feed Kansas kids and families this summer.


Because of high unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are in need of food assistance, the foundations noted in a press release, and many school districts are providing meals to students during the summer months, but have limited resources to address the increased need.


"We know families all across Kansas have been devastated by the economic impacts of this unprecedented public health crisis – access to healthy food has been among the pandemic’s casualties," said Reggie Robinson, KHF president and CEO. "We’re proud to partner with Sunflower Foundation on this vitally important initiative that aims to provide hundreds of thousands of meals to children and families."


Districts with between 1,000 and 10,000 students, including Girard Schools (USD 248) and Pittsburg Community Schools (USD 250), will receive a base amount of $6,000 plus $2.17 per pupil.


Districts with less than 1,000 students, which will receive a base amount of $3,000 plus $2.17 per pupil, include Northeast (USD 246) in Arma.


Learning Tree Institute at Greenbush in Crawford County is administering the grant funding on behalf of the foundations.


In many communities, school-supported summer food programs are part of the community’s food security response to COVID-19 and grantees will use these funds to enhance existing services or pay for services not reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). These include added costs of distributing meals while following public health pandemic guidelines, and the expansion of summer meal programs – including adult and family meal services.


"Schools faced a unique challenge when the pandemic forced them to close their doors this spring reminding us that schools are a key source of daily food and nutrition for so many of our children. Kansas schools rose to the challenge and found innovative ways to not just continue, but expand, their meal programs," said Billie Hall, Sunflower Foundation president and CEO. "It is a privilege to partner with the Kansas Health Foundation, as both foundations have a long history supporting food security programs."