During the school year, nearly 37,000 children in Vermont qualify for free or reduced-price meals. But when the school year ends, students from low-income households lose access to nutritional meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service program helps remedy this issue by serving food to students at no charge.
Becca Mitchell, the Child Nutrition Initiatives Manager for Hunger Free Vermont, joined Vermont Edition to discuss the program's mission and how children in the state can participate.
The federally funded program is offered at around 300 sites throughout Vermont for children 18 and under. The sites offer breakfast and lunch to any child 18 or under who wants it, and the sites are selected to serve areas where kids from low-income households are most likely to have access.
"You don't need to call ahead, you don't need to register," Mitchell said. "Even if your hometown doesn't have a summer meal site, you're welcome and really encouraged to participate in programs in neighboring communities."
To find summer meals available near you, you can use the program's 2019 Summer Meal Site Finder. You can also call 2-1-1 or text the word "food" to 877-877 and you'll receive a text back with the location closest to you.
Broadcast live on July 18, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.