Summer meal program helps head off hunger for Iowa children
DES MOINES – Iowa families who rely on schools to help feed their children during the school year have access this summer to meals served in schools, community centers and other sites at no charge through a federally funded program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program provides thousands of meals to Iowa children in low-income areas at no charge to their families. These meals are intended to replace school meal programs that are unavailable during the summer. The federally funded program is administered by the Iowa Department of Education and local sponsors.
“The Summer Food Service Program helps children maintain proper nutrition all summer long so that they return to school in the fall ready to learn,” said Stephanie Dross, an Iowa Department of Education consultant.
The program will operate about 500 meal sites across Iowa from June through August. Each site is administered by a local sponsor, including schools, churches, local cities, and other private non-profit community organizations. Sponsors may begin serving meals and snacks as soon as their local school districts have ended classes for the school year, meaning that service dates will vary throughout Iowa.
The sites are open to all children ages 18 and under at no charge. No identification or sign-in is required. Many sites offer learning and recreational activities for children.
To find a summer meal site near you, visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks or call 211 or 1-866-3-HUNGRY, or text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877. Services are available in English and Spanish.
For more information about Iowa’s Summer Food Service Program, visit: https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/nutrition-programs-0