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Free Summer Meals for Needy Kids

June 26, 2015

Web_Slider-2School is out, but that doesn’t mean needy kids should go without food. This program fills the gap with free meals for kids.

No matter whether you love public schools or hate them, one of the best services they provide are free and reduced priced meals for kids from poor families. Once the school year is over, however, many kids either have to find a way to fend for themselves or do without.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case in the Seattle area where the Summer Food Service Program started up again earlier this week. The program, which gets its funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, offers free breakfast, lunch and snacks to kids ranging in age from 1 to 18 in parks and facilities throughout the area. Parents don’t have to provide proof of income or citizenship or even an address. Kids just show up.

Another nice thing about the program in Seattle is that many of the places that participate in the program don’t make it all about the food. Instead, it’s often offered as part of a number of summer activities that could include games and crafts. In fact, my kids and I stumbled across one such program in the Central District a few years back and didn’t even realize it. We were just driving around looking for a park to visit in the south end and stopped because the park we were i, nterested in had a waterfall fountain they could play in.

Once we got there, my kids were excited to see a table filled with crafts and activities and they probably would have stuck around if there hadn’t been a waterfall to play under. I had heard of the Summer Food Service Program, but didn’t even realize that the park was part of it until somebody came up to me and asked if my kids wanted something to eat. And the way they asked made it seem more like I happened to be at a family event where a relative wanted to make sure we weren’t missing out on the food than I was being asked by someone at, say, a soup kitchen or social service organization.

The best way to find out if there is such a program near you is to plug your zip code into the Summer Meals Search Tool or call the Family Food Hotline at Family Food Hotline at 1-888-4-436-6392.

I understand that this may not be a service that most of my readers use, it’s important to know about it so you might be able to pass it on to someone who might need it.

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