For many children, summer means days at the pool and quality time spent with their families. However, for some children, summer is associated with hunger. With no school for several weeks, many students will be left wondering where their next meal will come from.
22 million students nationwide depend on free or reduced-price school lunches. More than 600 thousand students in Arizona rely on these lunches. During the summer of 2016, food programs in Arizona served nearly 3.5 million lunches to children in need.
Lack of access to nutritious meals can negatively affect a child’s health. It can also affect their development and academic progress year-round. That’s why over 400 Summer Food Service Program sites in the state serve free meals to kids 18 and younger all summer long, helping to close this critical food insecurity gap. With these programs, thousands of students can count on at least one nutritious meal every single day in June and July. Nearly every site offers breakfast and lunch, and some offer dinner and snacks. Many of the sites also provide activities for children, offering a safe space for them to beat the heat and stay active.
Visit this site to find a free summer meal program in your area. If there is not a program near you, contact the Arizona Department of Education to start one. For more food resources, contact the Association of Arizona Food Banks.
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