Summer meals truck rural area

Summer Meals: A Lifesaver in the Hungriest Time of the Year

For millions of children in America, summer isn’t a carefree time.

During the school year, many children rely on school programs that offer lunch and, in many cases, breakfast and supper, but when schools close for summer vacation, many of those meals disappear.

But schools and community groups across the country offer summer meals programs for kids. The meals are free for all children and teens age 18 and under - with no application or registration required. Families don’t need to show proof of income or immigration status.

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During the school year, Faye Harris works at the cafeteria at Greensboro Elementary in Caroline County, Md., but during the summer she takes care of her grandson. Summer meals have been a support for her family.

“Go get [them] … it's free, doesn't cost you anything. They’re good, wholesome, healthy meals - what the kids get in school throughout the year,” shared Harris encouraging families to participate in summer meals. “You may be able to take that couple dollars that you saved from not having to go out and do something special with your child that you wouldn't normally get to do.”

You can find free summer meals sites near you by texting the word “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 or using our Free Meals Finder map.
Even with these free meals available for kids, many families continue to struggle during the summer. Many times, they are unaware that meals are available for all children, no questions asked. No Kid Hungry is launching a campaign promoting our texting line and our Free Meals Finder map. We encourage people to share - and all families with kids to participate in the program. The more children participate the stronger the programs will be. Children need to be present and eat the meals on-site. Many summer meals programs offer other activities for kids, including games, sports and arts-and-crafts. 

This summer is more important than ever for everybody to promote summer meals. The rising prices and continued economic impact of the pandemic has put even more kids at risk of hunger. 

Summer meals have helped families like Penny Davis, another grandmother in Caroline County, Md. She babysits six of her grandchildren during the summer while their parents work.

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“It's like a gold mine,” she shared about the kids’ reaction to receiving the meals. “When you give them a bag, and they’re opening that bag up, they line up all their food, they love it. They are tickled to death. They look forward to getting it every day.”

“If it wasn’t for them [the meals], kids wouldn’t have had breakfast and lunch, and a good one, every day, ” Davis added. “They really saved the day."

Help us spread the word about summer meals to make sure every kid gets the three meals a day they need 365 days a year. Let’s make this summer a happy one for kids.