A save the children staffer hands out food to families.
A young girl unpacks a Save the Children meal kit and prepares a garden salad.

Save the Children Campaign Committed to ‘Make Summer Fair’ for Rural Kids in Need, Providing Books, Meals and Learning Programs when School’s Out

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 1, 2023) — For children living in poverty across rural America, summer can mean losing up to 34% of what they learned during the school year and the consistent meals schools provide[1]. Today, to help ensure rural kids in need have the books, meals, education resources and programming they need to keep learning and developing in the summer, Save the Children is launching its annual summer education campaign, Make Summer Fair, which goes through Sept. 8, International Literacy Day.

“Summer isn’t fair for many rural children. The last day of school, for them, can mean no more access to books, regular meals and art supplies, and the end of exercising and playing with friends until the next school year,” said Betsy Zorio, Vice President of U.S. Programs for Save the Children. “When children are unable to keep learning, creating and growing throughout the summer months, they not only fall behind their peers, but may never catch up – which can have lifelong consequences. The Make Summer Fair campaign – and its strong network of partners and supporters – is working to eliminate the deep inequities rural kids struggle with every summer, so they can thrive as learners and in life.”

While poverty affects millions in the U.S., its strongest grip on children’s lives is most often in rural communities – as rural child poverty is higher than urban areas in 40 states[2]. In addition, 90 percent of counties with the highest food security rates are rural[3] – a challenge that can be further compounded for many rural kids when schools are closed for the summer.

Make Summer Fair is generously presented by Mattel, Penguin Random House, Good360, Amazon, Vooks, HarperCollins Publishers, Once Upon a Farm, Teddy Grahams, American Girl, Zulily, IKEA U.S., Encantos, Sunrays, The Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation, Noggin by Nick Jr. and UNIQLO USA.

Make Summer Fair supporters can also join Save the Children's sister organization – Save the Children Action Network – by sending a message to Congress to invest in early childhood education, helping prepare kids for a lifetime of learning.

Save the Children’s work in the United States is focused on ensuring that all children in rural America have a healthy, strong foundation to be successful in school and life. Its education and nutrition programs work to provide children the skills and support they need to be ready for kindergarten and achieve grade-level proficiently in reading and math by third grade. 

To learn more about the Make Summer Fair campaign, visit SavetheChildren.org/MakeSummerFair  


[1] Atteberry, A., & McEachin, A. in press, 2020. School's out: The role of summers in understanding achievement disparities. American Education Research Journal. 34% reflects fifth grade math learning loss.

[2] Save the Children U.S. Complement to the End of Childhood Report 2018. Growing up Rural in America.

[3] Feeding America Map the Meal Gap 2023.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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