What Are Free Summer Lunch Program in 2024?

Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Lori Pace

When your kids do not have to go to school in summer so you do not have to pay for school meals. Suppose you are looking for Free Summer Lunch Program available in your community. Try visiting community centres, schools, churches, or park districts to get them.

Who Are Eligible For Free Summer Lunch Program?

These are for kids and teens up to 18 years of age. These kids and teens can simply go to the summer programs’ scheduled meal hours for a free meal (breakfast or lunch, or both). There’s no need for paperwork to prove the parents’ income. 

When Do These Programs Become Available?

These Free Summer Lunch Program(s) happen during June, July, and August. Sometimes, summer activities or learning programs are available during the scheduled mealtimes. 

Are They Available Amidst The Covid Pandemic?

Yes, however, there are changes in terms of receiving the meals. The following are the possible ways to receive the meals:

  • Children can grab-and-go for meals to follow social distancing guidelines
  • Pre-packed meals, lunches, and groceries that can be used for multiple days
  • Take home school meals
  • Delivery of meals to bus stops, public housing or any other central location.

Learn How To Find Free Summer Lunch Program Near You

Learn How To Find Free Summer Lunch Program Near You
Where to find free summer lunch?

Through Texting

Simply text “FOOD” to 304-304 to get nearby locations. However, data and message rates may apply.

Through Calling

Call 1-866-348-6479 (The USDA Hotline) to ask for free summer food service programs available in your area.

Through Local Food Banks

Through Local Food Banks

Use the Food Bank Locator to contact the one nearest to your location. Food Banks can look like they’re too far from your area, but they often offer meal programs near you. 

Where Does Funding Come From?

The United States Department of Agriculture funds some summer meal programs. These meals are then purchased by food banks and delivered to youth programs in your area. Through the Summer Food Service Program, more than 10 million meals were provided by the Feeding America network.

Local food banks also operate other summer meal programs, including the Backpack program and School Pantry program thanks to the generosity of corporate and individual donors.

How Can You Help?

Many families are unaware of summer meal programs and it can be difficult to find them. If you want to help, sharing information with neighbors about how they can receive free summer meals if they are in dire need is the best way. Share your experience with summer meal programs and let others know that it is okay to sometimes need assistance.

You can do more to fight summer hunger if you are interested:

  • Contact your elected officials for help in keeping federal programs such as the summer meals program running.
  • Donate to Feeding America, 200 community food banks
  • Helping summer meals for children by volunteering at food banks
Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!