Free summer lunches and meals near you.
Kids from low-income families will get free summer lunches when not in school. The SFSP program is a government benefit that ensures children do not go hungry during the summer months. Kids, teenagers, kindergartens and others will get a free lunch, breakfast, or even dinner from the USDA program. Find places that kids can get free meals near them during the summer.
Millions of children live in low-income, “food insecure” households. The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) will give kids free meals or snacks when school is no longer in session. Many single moms and dads use this program to help feed children during vacation period. A number of charities and churches, that may be near you, partner with the federal government offering this service. Learn where to apply below.
What is the Summer Food Service Program
Millions of students from low-income households rely on the free School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs, but these services do not operate during the summer vacation months. So this is where the SFSP program will help ensure children of all ages and grades get a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner at no cost. Food is passed out 7 days a week; it also provides free meals to kids one the weekend during the summer.
Studies show that lack of healthy meals and overall nutrition during the summer months can impact a student’s ability to learn and retain information during the school year, and it can even set up a cycle for poor performance at the start of the year. Other issues that can arise from lack of nutritious food include children can become susceptible to illness and other medical conditions. This federal government funded USDA benefit will ensure those kids are still able to get the nutritional support they need near them.
To try to deal with and address the increased summertime need and demands for assistance, food banks will recruits and partner with other centers such as churches, soup kitchens and pantries near you to distribute free Summer Meals to children. The various non-profit food banks assist participating programs with community outreach and activities to promote participation.
Where children will get free meals or snacks during the summer near them
The SFSP program will provide free meals to children over the summer. Depending on your county and city, the free food and meals for kids are distributed at community locations, including parks, schools, pools, community centers, some churches, pantries and possibly even libraries. Nutritious hot or cold breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks will be provided.
The centers that participate in the summer meal program feed children and students at meal service sites. They are located in a variety of local and convenient settings, including playgrounds, schools, recreation centers, parks, churches, community centers, Indian reservations, day camps, migrant centers, residential summer camps, or housing projects. Or locate a free soup kitchen near you.
Many cities and towns also try to increase awareness of the free Summer Meals for kids from low-income families by partnering with non-profit agencies and charity organizations like the Salvation Army. For a location near you for a free summer meal, dial 1-866-348-6479.
National and regional food banks also supply information about the SFSP programs. They may have the locations of SFSP food distribution centers, and can help guide families to local networks of regional and national food assistance programs, such as SNAP or WIC. The USDA works with local partner agencies bear students to help feed them. Learn more about local food pantries.
Benefits of the free Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
A key objective is to provide an opportunity to continue a student’s/child's social, educational and physical development while providing students of all ages free or discounted nutritious meals. This is a federal government funded program that is operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered at the State level.
SFSP was created to ensure that teenagers and children, who normally get a free breakfast or lunch at school, in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious food. Qualifications normally include the following.
- When at summer or day camps, only the children who are normally eligible for free and reduced-price meals from the USDA may receive free food or meals from SFSP.
- Applying children need to be 18 years of age or younger, they need to stop by an approved distribution site or go to an eligible enrolled site.
- Generally the free food and summer meals are provided on a first-come and served basis. There may be breakfast, lunches or even both meals served each day.
- Some exceptions can be made for low income teenagers or people over age 18. If they disabilities they may also receive free meals. There is no risk into inquiring into the program as maybe you would fit into the exception category.
How to apply for free breakfast or lunch programs for students during the summer
To get information on the USDA Summer Food Service Program, including locating meal sites and distribution centers in your community near you, dial the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479 (which is easy to remember as 1-866-3-HUNGRY). Customer service representatives at the USDA summer meal program can provide information on the program, how to apply, and where parents with kids can find free meal sites in their community
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