Summer Food Service Program to open across the state

Summer Meals helps kids stay well-fed and healthy year-round.

by Fatima Jawaid

June is here and so is summer break! School is coming to an end and kids are looking forward to vacation—playing outside, swimming and just being kids!

But for about 1 in 5 kids in Oregon, summer can mean worrying about where their next meal will come from.

During the school year, tens of thousands of Oregon children eat school meals each day. However, when school ends for the year, so does this important source of nutrition. The Summer Food Service Program (aka Summer Meals) is meant to help fill that nutritional gap by distributing thousands of free lunches to kids in summer programs across Oregon.

Summer Meals are available in hundreds of communities throughout Oregon, offering free meals and snacks to all kids ages 1-18. Community summer meal programs are open to all families without paperwork or signing up – kids can just drop in. Many sites also offer fun, supervised enrichment activities for kids, in addition to serving nutritious meals. Schools, parks departments, community and faith groups run more than 800 sites across the state, which help ensure kids stay active and healthy while school is out, so they return to school in the fall ready to learn.

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs and other partners have worked together for several years to expand summer meals and help ensure this valuable program doesn’t go underutilized. Of all the kids that access free or reduced-price lunch at school throughout the year, only about 17 percent access summer meals. It is important to close that gap by supporting more communities, raising awareness through outreach, and by reducing barriers to summer meals for kids and families.

To find local programs, families can visit, call 211, or text “food” to 877-877.