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Summer meals continue to bridge the gap for kids

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Education is reminding families that several schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the state are providing meals through the Summer Food Service Program for all kids ages 1-18.

A complete listing of open sites is available on the ODE website.

When schools let out for the summer, thousands of Oregon children lose access to breakfast, lunch and after-school meals they receive during the regular school year.

This year has been unprecedented, as schools closed their doors in March due to COVID-19. During that time, the Summer Food Service Program helped to fill the gap by providing free, nutritious meals to children and teens through the end of the planned school year.

The Summer Food Service Program will continue to provide nutritious meals over the summer months at participating summer sites including many schools, parks and  nonprofit organizations. 

Though recent events have created an increase in participation in the Summer Food Service Program, it is still underutilized, with many families unaware of the free meals in their communities.

Nationally, only one out of six children who receive free or reduced price meals during the school year continue to receive meals during the summer months. Increasing awareness of and access to these programs can have a significant impact on combating childhood food insecurity.

Find Meal Sites

There are over 600 summer meal sites in Oregon alone. Families can look up meal locations in their area by calling 2-1-1, or texting “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877, or visiting Summer Food Oregon.  Meals are available to any child 18 and under without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. 

We invite community partners, school districts and media outlets to help spread the word about the free summer meals to families in your area. A sample Tweet and Facebook post are provided below for those interested in helping to spread the word and reduce child hunger this summer.

Sample Tweets

  • #SFSP can fill bellies and minds!  For more info visit Summer Food Oregon #SummerMealsOR #SummerFoodRocks
  • Find #FoodFriendsandFun!  To find a #SFSP meal site by you visit Summer Food Oregon! #SummerMealsOR #SummerFoodRocks

Sample Facebook Post

Children need good nutrition all year long. When school is out during the summer months, many children no longer have access to even one nutritious meal each day. The Summer Food Service Program helps to fill the gap. To find a site, call 2-1-1, text “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877, or visit Summer Food Oregon.

If you have questions, please contact ODE Child Nutrition Programs -  Community Nutrition, at (503) 947-5894 or ode.communitynutrition@ode.state.or.us.

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