Free Summer Meals for Children
by Christina Winniewicz, Regional Summer Food Service Program Coordinator

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An elementary school student began crying and told staff that he did not want to go home. When they asked why, the boy explained that there was no food in his house. This story came to me personally from a school superintendent right here in our region. Sadly, this story is not uncommon. Similar scenarios are happening in schools across our nation. Did you know that some teachers purchase and keep snack food in their desks to give to hungry students, so that they are able to focus on learning instead of an empty stomach?

Statistics from Share Our Strength, a national child hunger relief organization, indicate that about 1 in every 5 children - more than 16 million - in the United States struggle with hunger.

During the school year, some low-income parents have to rely on schools to be the primary source of nutritious meals for their children. As you can imagine, summer can be an extremely challenging time for those parents who need to provide more food, and for those children who may be at risk of going hungry.

However, there is a federally-funded program called the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that provides free, healthy meals to children in need during the summer months. Children age 18 and under can visit local summer food program sites and receive free meals. There is no eligibility paperwork to complete and no proof of income is required. Some sites offer fun and educational programming in addition to the meals.

To find a summer food program site near you visit the location finder website.You can also learn more on the Food Bank's summer food web page.

To learn more about child hunger in the United States, visit Share our Strength's website.


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