Gem State Roundup

Free meals available to Idaho kids throughout the state with Summer Food Service Program

By: - June 27, 2022 4:00 am
students eating lunch in school cafeteria

The Idaho State Department of Education offers free summer meals for students under the age of 18. (Tom Grill/Getty Images)

To read this article in Spanish, click here. 

This summer, the Idaho State Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program will provide children ages 1 to 18 with free meals and snacks throughout the state, bridging the summer nutrition gap to ensure students a healthy return to school in the fall. 

Anyone under the age of 18 can receive a free meal, and there are no income requirements for the summer food program. Several of the meal sites offer games and reading activities along with balanced meals throughout the day. 

“This program does so much more than provide healthy meals,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra in a press release. “Making our schools a central hub even during the summer months keeps Idaho’s students and families engaged in our educational communities. And, as we all know, although our kids take a break for the summer, hunger certainly does not.”

Sponsors for the food program are reimbursed for each qualifying breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner served. In the summer of 2021, 58 sponsors served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks at more than 250 sites across Idaho. 

Summer meal program sites have begun operating. To find a meal site, text FOOD to 877-877, call the Idaho Care Line at 2-1-1 or go to the USDA’s Find Meals for Kids map.

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Mia Maldonado
Mia Maldonado

Mia Maldonado joined the Idaho Capital Sun after working as a breaking news reporter at the Idaho Statesman covering stories related to crime, education, growth and politics. She previously interned at the Idaho Capital Sun through the Voces Internship of Idaho, an equity-driven program for young Latinos to work in Idaho news. Born and raised in Coeur d'Alene, Mia moved to the Treasure Valley for college where she graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international political economy.