For nearly 200,000 Iowa children, the absence of meals served during the regular school day causes the reality of lack of nourishment during the summer time. 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 2017, the summer food service program sponsors served over 1.3 million total meals and snacks with a June average of over 25,000 meals served. That was a 5.4% 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