This report summarizes findings from year 3 of an ongoing evaluation of the Meals-to-You (MTY) program, a pilot program administered by the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP) and funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The original aim of the MTY pilot was to provide a stable and reliable source of food through home delivery to children in rural areas who lack reliable sources of food during the summer months when school is not in session. This report covers the 2021 summer MTY program in Alaska, New Mexico, and Texas.
The Urban Institute is the independent program evaluator of the original three-year pilot program and was contracted by BCHP to conduct an evaluation of MTY. The key findings follow:
- The summer MTY program served 1,722 households and 3,991 participants in Alaska, New Mexico and Texas. The program successfully delivered 41,645 meal boxes.
- The majority of participants were satisfied with the variety (89 percent) and quantity (83 percent) of food in the boxes, though not all felt the box contents were appealing. Damages to boxes decreased from the 2020 program, although 28 percent of participants reported receiving at least one damaged box.
- Overall, food insecurity among participating households improved more often than it worsened during the summer, except for households that identified as Native American, who experienced worse food insecurity outcomes by the end of the summer.
This report contains several recommendations based on insights from parents and school districts that highlight improving vendor data systems, increasing stakeholder engagement through advisory groups, decreasing barriers to enrollment, and ensuring future programming is funded well in advance of initiation.