2 innovative ways kids are getting meals this summer

A young boy sitting at a lunch table with his meal.
June 21, 2024
by Paul Morello

When kids are fed, they have the fuel to thrive. At school, free meals fuel kids to thrive while they learn, play and grow. In the summer, those meals aren’t an option. But kids are resilient. And the Feeding America network is helping improve access to meals for children over the summer, to help fill the gap when school’s out. 

Below, check out two ways kids are getting meals when and where they want them this summer.

1. Mobile meal programs

Ask any parent – kids rarely stay in one spot very long over the summer. Whether it’s the park, the library, the pool, summer camps and more, kids are on the go when school is out. So, the Feeding America network brings the meals to them, through mobile summer meal programs. Kids get meals where they hang out and play during the summer, like at parks and libraries, so there’s more time to enjoy spending time with friends, finding a great new book or riding a bike.

2. SUN Bucks, the summer EBT program

When you think of kids and food, one of the first words that may come to mind is “picky.” Kids like what they like, and most aren’t afraid to let you know what their preferences are. This summer, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer EBT program, called SUN Bucks, is helping ensure kids and families have access to the nutritious food that best fits their needs – picky eaters included. The program provides additional grocery benefits to families when school is out during the summer. So, families can access exactly what food they need to get kids ready to learn when school starts in the fall.

Learn more about SUN Bucks from Feeding America supporter Chrissy Teigen.

Mobile meal programs and summer EBT are helping improve access to meals for children when school is out, and while both are addressing food insecurity, there is still much to be done. In 2022, more than 13 million children faced hunger – a 44 percent increase from the previous year and the highest rate in nearly a decade. 

Learn more about child food insecurity, how summer meal programs are helping kids thrive and how you can get involved.