Many Iowa children who receive free and reduced-price meals can also go hungry during the summer time. Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition.
The Summer Food Service Program, administered by the Iowa Department of Education, provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. There are many summer food service program feeding sites across the state of Iowa; however the program is still vastly under-utilized. About 10% of the eligible Iowa kids are reached through the program which is about average nationally.
Across the state, 611,574 lunches were served in 2013 — about 56,000 more than the summer before and a huge increase from 2002. Meals are provided by sponsor organizations, which are compensated by the US Department of Agriculture for each lunch served. Some sites also serve breakfast, or a snack in addition to lunch. For a complete list of sites in Iowa, go to Summer Food Service Program.