The Pennsylvania Department of Education kicked off Summer Food Awareness Week, June 11-15, by reminding families of the services provided by the Summer Food Service Program.
Through the program, more than 2,000 sites statewide will be open this summer to provide children 18 years of age or younger with free meals. After June 15, site locations and hours will be available online at www.pasummermeals.com.
A free school lunch is the only full meal that some children receive all day, which means the end of the school year can put those children at risk of hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, orUSDA, created the program to make sure children have access to nutritious meals during thesummer break.
Site sponsors provide the facility and free meals for local children and then apply for partial reimbursement from the USDA, based on the number of meals served.
Pennsylvania's Department of Education administers these programs by approving nonprofit site sponsors, processing reimbursement claims and providing oversight.
National Summer Food Awareness Week is a perfect time for parents to assess their children's nutritional needs over the summer and, if need be, locate a Summer Food Service Program site near them.
Last summer, more than 5 million meals and snacks were served to children from low-income families at more than 2,000 sites across the state. The majority of site sponsors from last year will continue to provide free meals with the addition of a few new sponsors this summer.