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Some kids are hungering for a solution. How you can help

Monday, January 29, 2018

images from summer food programs

For nearly 200,000 Iowa children, summer is not solely about fun and games. It’s also about hunger. In the absence of meals served during the regular school day, these children face the reality of lives without such nourishment. To help curb this hunger tide, local sponsors are needed for a federally funded summer meal program aimed at children in low-income areas of the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, administered through the Iowa Department of Education, utilizes sponsors to manage summer meal service. Typical sponsors include public and nonpublic schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations with serving sites located in schools, churches, community centers, parks, libraries, housing complexes, or camps.

To qualify as a site, the facility must be either located in a low-income neighborhood where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals or must serve primarily low-income children.

In addition, summer food program sponsors across the state are interested in partnering with other organizations to help with summer meal programs in the following ways:

  • Organizations that have a connection to families that can help spread the message about available site locations
  • Organizations that have summer child-serving activities that are interested in adding a meal service, minus the administrative and management responsibilities of sponsorship.
  • Organizations (for example, public libraries) that can provide activities at current meal sites
  • Organizations that have access to volunteers that can help serve meals, supervise children, or provide activities at meal sites.
  • Organizations that can assist with providing transportation for children to and from meal sites

In 2017, the summer food service program sponsors served 1,300,244 total meals and snacks with a June average of 25,340 per day, representing a 5.4 percent increase from 2016. With the participation trend increasing, the need for program sponsors, site locations, and partner organizations is crucial to meeting this need for families.

For more information, visit the Department’s Summer Food Service Program webpage or contact Stephanie Dross at 515-281-4760 or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Photos of Summer Food Service Programs, top to bottom:
1 - Legion Park, West Des Moines Community School District
2 - Legion Park, West Des Moines Community School District
3 - Summer Food Service Program, Swerve Outreach Altoona Kids Cafe
4 - Summer Food Service Program Johnston CSD, Chapel Ridge Apartments
5 - Summer Food Service Program Nevada CSD, Central Elementary
6 - Summer Food Service Program Nevada CSD, Central Elementary
7 - Summer Food Service Program Waukee CSD, Windfield West Apartments
8 - Summer Food Service Program Johnston CSD, Chapel Ridge Apartments
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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 08, 2021 at 4:20pm.