Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

Can kids get free school lunches over the summer?

Millions of school aged kids get their best meal of the day at school.

Unfortunately, for many children, the summer which should mean fun times only means hunger.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) school food service program does provide meals to kids who are eligible during the summer through its summer program. According to the USDA, “the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.”

The difficulty with this program for many children looking for a healthy meal can be many fold.

  1. Where will the program be housed? A site in each community is needed to provide a place to prepare, store and serve the kids healthy meals.
  2. How do you get the kids to the food? Who will provide transportation to get the kids who need the meal to and from it routinely, timely and safely?
  3. Who will pay for transportation and assume any liability not to mention getting drivers?
  4. How do parents and caregivers of these eligible children find out the details? Awareness of a program in the community is a roadblock for many areas.

No Kid Hungry has this message to offer all of us who are concerned about child hunger during the summer months.

  • The summer meals program was created in 1968 to help kids in need get healthy food when school is out. Yet the current program operates under a set of one-size-fits-all regulations that don’t work in many communities.
  • Transportation challenges, inclement weather and bureaucratic hurdles means five out of six kids who may need these meals aren’t getting them.
  • As Congress considers the re-authorization of Child Nutrition programs this year, we have the opportunity to improve the summer meals program so it helps eligible kids no matter where they live. Send a letter to Congress here, or you can sign up for our Summer Action Day on June 22nd!

If you have a child or know of one that could benefit from continuing to receive school foodservice over the summer, contact the local school to see where they are holding this service and make arrangements to help all kids have a healthy summer!

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