U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is calling for expansion of a program that helps feed low income children when school is out for summer. “We set a goal and the goal is to increase overall the number of meals we serve nationally by 10 million,” Vilsack says. “Last year we served around 166 million meals. We had increased last year by seven million meals over the preceding year.”

The former Iowa governor says the Summer Food Service program is critically important to make sure children are getting nutritious meals when school’s not in session.

“Seventeen million youngsters in this country today live in food insecure homes. Through no fault of theirs and through no fault of mom and dad, they live in a home where at the end of the month there just may not be enough to adequately feed the family,” Vilsack said.

He made his comments during a visit to an elementary and middle school in Baltimore, Maryland.