Nutrition
3:48 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Free Meals Available to Children on Summer Vacation

Many students rely on free and reduced price meals during the school year and still need help over the summer.

In 2012, the Department of Agriculture served 2.3 million children at 38,800 sites on a typical summer day through the Summer Food Service Program. 

Free meals are available at sites all over the country to anyone 18 and under, or 21 and under if disabled, according to Cindy Moore of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. People can go to any location — no registration or documentation is necessary.

Moore said the meals are very important to children in the summer, just as they are when school is in session. 

"It sets them up to be in a better position to go back to school in the fall," she said. "When children lack proper nourishment, studies tell us they are more likely to be sick, they sometimes can't learn as well, there are sometimes behavioral issues because they're hungry ... they're agitated."

Almost any location that hosts children during the day can participate in providing the free meals, according to Moore, and volunteers are always welcome.

Call 211 (the United Way) to find a location, or go to www.pasummermeals.com/sfsp.  Organizations that would like to provide free meals may call the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at 412-460-3663, X 409.