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Free Meal Sites Help Provide a Hunger-Free Summer

Summer Meals are free, nutritious meals provided for kids and teens 18 years and under when school is out of session for the summer. No registration, paperwork, parental supervision, or ID is required. Children do not need to be receiving free or reduced price meals during the school year in order to receive free Summer Meals.

Typically during the summer months, the demand for food increases as kids are no longer in school receiving breakfast and/or lunch. At the same time, donations to food banks tend to drop. Summer Meals sites are essential in filling the gap to ensure that kids receive the fuel they need to continue their healthy development over the summer school break.

Just like the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, the federal Summer Meals Programs are funded through the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education to provide kids and teens 18 and under with free, nutritious meals throughout the summer so they return to school in the fall ready to learn.

Summer Meals are provided at "sites" that can be found in a variety of locations across Connecticut and may even be in your own community. Summer Meals sites are often in schools, churches, playgrounds, and community centers. In Connecticut, there are hundreds of Summer Meals sites, and to find the nearest location either call United Way 2-1-1 (simply dial 2-1-1, it's a free call), text CTMeals to 877-877, or visit http://www.ctsummerfood.org/location-finder.

Depending on the site, a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack can be provided. Meals consist of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and milk. Additionally, some sites provide activities, such as arts and crafts, outdoor activities, board games, reading activities, and more.