Summer Meals: Food, Friends and Fun

Frequently Asked Questions


What are summer meals programs? Summer meals programs are a federal child nutrition programs funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and designed to provide kids and teens ages 18 and under healthy meals during the months of June, July, and August when school is out.

What are the requirements for my child or teen to receive a meal? Do I have to fill out an application form? There is no application necessary to receive a meal and you do not have to show proof of income. Kids and teens ages 18 and younger can just show up at a summer meal site during the site’s hours of operation.

Is there a cost? No. All summer meals offered through the USDA’s programs are FREE to all kids and teens ages 18 and younger.

How do I find a Summer Meal site in my community? Summer meals sites are in the community at safe, supervised places like churches, schools and community centers. For more information, search this website by zip call, call 1-800-359-2163 to speak to someone, text FoodIL to 877-877 to find a site near you.

What kind of food is served at these sites? The meals served are healthy and meet USDA guidelines. A typical lunch, for example, will include a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, milk, an apple and a salad. Here is a sample menu .

Do summer meal sites offer activities? Many sites offer fun learning and recreational activities in a safe, supervised environment. To find out the type of activities offered, call the site.

What else can I do to help? You can share information about free summer meals with your friends, neighbors and family members.

Who funds free summer meals? Summer meals programs are funded by the USDA through the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program and are administered by the Illinois State Board of Education

Have other questions? Please contact US here.

Summer Meals rock in Rock Island

July 27, 2015Thirteen years ago, staff at Church of Peace in Rock Island began working on the Summer Meals Program with just one site. This year there are 29 sites and they are still growing. 1 in 5 children in Rock Island is at risk of hunger. Nora Steele, Summer Meals Program Sponsor, knows that reality perhaps […]

What is SFSP?

May 24, 2015Welcome to Summer Meals Illinois’ blog! We are so excited that you are here. You may be thinking: “Free Meals? No way!” Yes way. SFSP stands for Summer Food Service Program and it provides free meals over the summer to kids less than 18 years of age. A community is eligible for an SFSP site […]

How does SFSP work?

May 24, 2015It seems too good to be true- where does the money for Free Summer Meals come from? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the Free Summer Meals program. The program was created in 1968 to help feed children over the summer.

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