Baylor Line Camp Joins Community Efforts to Support Summer Meals Program

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More than 1,500 incoming freshmen attending July's Baylor Line Camps will take on a major project while they are welcomed to Baylor and to the city they will call home for the next four years.
July 6, 2011

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More than 1,500 incoming freshmen attending July's Baylor Line Camps will take on a major project as they are welcomed to Baylor and to the city they will call home for the next four years.

The Baylor Line Camps will partner with the Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County to get the word out about free meals for children this summer through the Summer Food Service Program.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free healthy meals to children 18 years and younger during the summer months. Sponsors provide meals at sites throughout the community through school districts, food vendors and on-site preparation. The statewide program is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Texas Hunger Initiative, a capacity-building collaborative project based at the Baylor School of Social Work that seeks to develop and implement strategies to end hunger through policy, research, education, community organizing and community development.

During the school year, 2.8 million Texas students participate in the free or reduced lunch program. However, only 12 percent of eligible students participate in the summer meals program, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

In McLennan County, approximately 27,000 children participate in the free or reduced lunch program during the school year, but in 2010, less than 10 percent, or about 3,000 children, participated in the summer program. The Food Planning Task Force has been working with the community to increase awareness and participation in the program to ensure that all children have access to healthy and nutritious meals during their summer break from school.

Baylor Line Camp students will work in small groups to canvas neighborhoods adjacent to participating SFSP locations and distribute fliers with information about the sites. Students will participate in the program July 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29.

Baylor joins the McLennan County Hunger Coalition, as well as other local churches and community groups, in their support of the program. Multiple groups have volunteered to provide activities at the sites, provide transportation and participate in their own block walks to spread the word.

"It takes the entire community - children, parents, people of faith, business leaders - to make sure that our future generations are getting the nutrition they require," said Waco Mayor Jim Bush.

Erin Payseur, associate director of leader development and civic engagement at Baylor, serves as the project's coordinator.

"This project is a way to welcome our students not only to Baylor but to the Waco community. We want to contribute to the good work that is happening in our neighborhoods and to love and to serve our neighbors. We are proud to be partnering with other groups that are actively making a difference," Payseur said.

Baylor Line Camp - the university's extended orientation program - introduces incoming freshmen and transfer students to Baylor's mission and traditions.

For more information on Baylor's involvement with the project, contact Payseur at Erin_Payseur@baylor.edu or (254) 710-1736. For more information on the Food Planning Task Force, contact Alexis Weaver, director of community affairs, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, at aweaver@wacochamber.com or (254) 757-5630.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest, continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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