Let’s Stop Summer Hunger

Let's Stop Summer Hunger GraphicDuring the school year, more than 21 million children rely on free and reduced school meals, but during the summer, only 3.8 million participate in the USDA’s summer meals program. This means that too many kids are at risk of hunger because they are out of school. For many students, school meals provide for over half of their daily calories during the school year, which means that providing these children with access to healthy meals is a big priority.

To help prevent summer hunger, the USDA partners with schools, local governments, and community organizations to provide free meals to children during the summer.

This means that any child under the age of 18 can go to a designated summer meal site and eat for free. But we need your help in ensuring that no child goes hungry this summer. During Summer Food Service Program Kick Off Week, observed June 1- 5, our colleagues at USDA want to invite everyone to help spread the word about this important program.

How you can help:

Be a Summer Meal champion in your community! Check out USDA’s Summer Meals Toolkit:

  • Get the word out through community-based outreach
  • Find info on program policy and administration
  • Get ideas for planning and collaborating with stakeholders

The USDA also has a Summer Food site finder that will be updated soon.

Learn more about Summer Food Service Program.


  1. Where are the parents of these children–who are both legally and morally responsible for their well being? I thought, in this country, that we had laws that made parents responsible for raising and educating their children; doesn’t that extend to feeding them?

    • Of course those laws extend to feeding them. This makes it possible for some parents to feed both themselves and their children, instead of having to chose between the two

    • The “where are the parents” sentiments neglect the fact that parents can work multiple jobs and it still wont be enough to pay for rent and clothing and electricity and food. Programs such as these relieve the burden of feeding their children, so that they can focus on providing for their other needs and taking care of themselves. Furthermore, these programs would not function if the parents or guardians were absent. They’re reliant on adults in a child’s life reaching out to assistance programs.

      People here either want to blame children for not being self-reliant enough, or blame parents for not taking care of their kids sufficiently according to unrealistic standards (ex. expecting every parent to be able to afford to feed their kids.) How ridiculous to divert blame to individuals when it’s the system as a whole that keeps people poor and starves children.

  2. Isn’t it funny, my generation and ones before didn’t have this program, yet we survived. At 13 , I cleaned the parking lot of a nearby fast food restaurant after school in exchange for my supper. I learned to be self reliant thereby.
    When other people’s money and the ” free ” food it buys runs out, will today’s generation be as viable???
    Just another gov’t program teaching dependency…..

    • Isn’t it funny how the population in the United States in the 70s was 207 million and we’re currently suporting about 325 million people? There are also laws in place preventing children to be able to obtain a job. Factor in the high competition in the job market today and the incredibly low minimum wage (compare $7.25 to $10.20 in Canada) and you might see why an exponentially larger amount of people are in poverty. All of those children should be able to eat regardless of the income of their caretaker. In many cases their caretakers are trying extremely hard to provide for their children but it’s exceptionally difficult. I know many single mothers of 4+ children that work three jobs just to barely afford a roof and clothes for the family. Those children are seeing the injustice of a system where everything you have may not be enough to live. They are not dependent, they only need a little help to keep from starving. Please do your research before leaving hateful commentary on such a wonderful program.

    • What about children that are under 13, Richard? Would you want to see 8 year olds cleaning your parking lot for food? While you sit inside enjoying your meal? It’s not dependency, it’s necessity. You can’t seriously expect every hungry child to go out searching for parking lots to clean. Not even most 18 year olds can find work to support themselves. And here you expect a child to do it? Just because we baby boomers had it easy doesn’t mean this next generation has it the same way. When there are 16 year old mothers working 9-5 paying bills, you can bet your dollar that these free meals count.

    • This is a program for children. Literal children. You want literal children–like, elementary-aged children, who are the ones most in need of these programs–to starve, because you feel like feeding children is the place where government spending is most irresponsible.

      Can you repeat that to my second-graders who don’t get breakfast if they’re not in time for the school-provided one?

    • To Richard: You have absolutely no clue what the world is like now. Fast food restaurants will not hire a 13-year-old to clean a parking lot, that’s the employees’ duties, and they certainly cannot get hired (even if it’s legal) as the jobs are, despite what people like you think, not easy to get. Our economy, and our abysmal “minimum wage” make sure of that. I guess you’d also have seven-year-olds begging in the street? Because it’s conservatives like you that want to decimate birth control access and abortion rights but when the children are born, god forbid they need something. What do you truly think is happening from these myopic policies? It takes over 80 hours in EVERY state of the union working minimum wage to pay for rent at market price. It was livable when you were young, not now. And before you blather on about getting higher education, how do you expect someone to work 80 hours and go to school? If they do, who cares for their children? Their problem right? See birth control policies above. Moreover, how about having some good old-fashioned compassion? This country was built on supposed Christian values. Christ would abhorr the kind of hard-nosed “hate the poor” attitude you espouse. Poor children aren’t lazy leeches, and for that matter, neither is any working poor (the most common recipient of both free lunches and food stamps). They are a victim of corporate greed and mistaken trickle down policies that do not work. Protect children. Feed all hungry people. Being fed should not be a privilege it is a right.

    • Wow, that’s funny. But I’m guessing you didn’t grow up in the recession: the worst since 2008, likely caused by your generation. When your age were younger, hunger problems weren’t as prevalent: there has been a 163% increase in use of foodbanks in the last four years alone . Where I’m from, 1 in 3 children under 10 are in poverty. Are they all meant to go clean parking lots in order to eat?
      Why can’t you be happy about this incredible thing?

      People like you do my head in. Constant negativity and the inability to see it was your generation that messed up things for us.

    • Yet your generation is the one that has created debt problems, rampant pollution, and a corrupt government system. This is a program promoting positive change and solution for kids who suffer from malnourishment and hunger, in times when their schools are not there to provide meals. Some of these children are under the age of ten, and therefore cannot acquire a job to fuel the cost of feeding themselves. Next time Richard, please reconsider your choice of words and refrain from continuing to bash the youth of today. Because chances are that the selfish actions of your generation are the reason that this program is necessary.

    • You survived because a restaurant was willing to give you food in exchange for services, which is not always going to happen especially with the quantity of families we have to serve due to the pervasiveness of poverty. We have hundreds of students in need of meals, children too young to work and disabled students who need assistance. The purpose of this program is not to teach self-reliance or dependency. It’s about nutrition, and it’s about not allowing students to face hunger. How embarrassing if we can have a powerful military and be feared by others as a global superpower, but we can’t even feed our most vulnerable (children)?

      We live in a society that makes it impossible for some families to survive, and we blame their lack of success on their lack of initiative rather than the broken system we live in. The “viability” of today’s generation (raised by yours, and the generations before yours; dependent on the changes your generation made and the generations before yours; dealing with the effects of your generation’s expenses and waste and the generations before yours) is dependent on people’s willingness to stop seeing people’s worth in their ability to fend for themselves.

      These kids are not all able-bodied thirteen year olds with the opportunity to pick up trash from a fast food chain. Besides that, fast food chains have become increasingly expensive and even exploitative of people with low SES. People who do work these jobs are regularly degraded, and the cost of living surpasses what they are capable of earning. We don’t live in your bootstraps world anymore, and that theory is really meant to blame my generation and those younger for your own failings.

      It’s another government program teaching children that they deserve to survive. That food is vital to their success, and that a healthy meal is important to sustaining one’s health. It’s preventing children from flowing into the system from malnutrition, and unnecessary hospital visits that wind up costing us more and costing lives. It’s allowing families to get back on their feet. It’s compassionate, and it’s what I was raised to believe is right.

    • And some generations before didn’t have vaccines and some didn’t have electricity and everyone dealt with it or they died. We’re supposed to want to make things easier and safer and healthier for the generations following. I wouldn’t want any thirteen year old having to work for a meal- our children should be taken care of. A child can’t help their social situation.

      We shouldn’t try to limit bettering the lives of future generations just because we might not have had the same benefits.

    • Isn’t it funny, how generational gaps are a very real thing? 13 year olds today can’t get jobs, and the minimum wage that they pay sometime’s isn’t enough to feed a teenager. Please, educate yourself and don’t be ignorant. Just because you may have gotten by, doesn’t mean everyone else can or will. Yes, this is funded by taxpayers. If you don’t feel comfortable knowing that your taxes go to help starving children eat, then please, leave this country and go somewhere else.

    • Nowadays, it’s illegal in most places to do anything for a corporation if you are under fourteen. Child labor laws forbid it. And what about even younger children? Should six year olds be forced to work for food? Bad living conditions make a child grow up fast enough. Child mortality was sky high before child labor ended. “Teaching dependency” is helping kids live long and healthy enough so that they may reach a state where dependence is not necessary. Are well off parents “teaching dependency” by giving their children three square meals a day? What you are advocating is disgusting and inhumane. You would prefer starving children over children who rely on government assistance? You are sickening.

    • No, listen: what your generation went through as children should have no influence on this project. Millions of children in poverty don’t have access to food, don’t you get that? Saying “my generation survived without this” doesn’t do anything. I understand that maybe you had it rough as a child, but this is not your time period anymore. This is mine. And I refuse to let someone try to call a project dedicated to helping my peers stay healthy “dependency”. Honestly, eating fast food for dinner in exchange for cleaning a parking lot is so unhealthy especially to growing children. You cannot get a substantial amount of nutrients from a local McDonald’s. I’m sorry, sir, but times have changed. And if there are now ways to improve life for children and teens (especially when it is during the months that are supposed to be most enjoyable to them) then I’m all for it. And I don’t think this project needs the negativity that you are so willing to spread.

    • Sir, it’s unfornate to hear you were forced to be so self reliant as such a young age, but I think you are speaking a little selfishly/condescendingly. Why make a comment putting down programs that help young people in such a fundamental way? Not to mention just because you were able to make it past your hardships can you really speak for your generation and the generations before you, kids have died and suffered because of lack of food. I’m sorry, the whole “the young generation has it easy” mentality really frustrates me, life is hard for everyone, why make it harder? Instead of assuming these kids are taking advantage of government programs, be thankful they exist.

    • Wow, you mean the world has changed since you were a kid and there’s factors outside people’s control that may mean they can’t do things the same way your generation did? Wow. Amazing how that works. Things DON’T stay the same forever.

    • I don’t know what it is exactly that you have against children, but from what I’ve seen they deserve to eat. The world has changed since your generation grew up, old man. You ruined it for us. You can no longer get a job at 13 at most places, and even if those places were to accept your application, you wouldn’t be hired because the market is flooded with older workers. You can’t just walk into a McDonald’s and get hired on the spot even with all the experience in the world. Your tax dollars here are being spent on a good thing. It is no sin to feed children, even if that money comes out of what you already give.

  3. It is wonderful to see organizations taking the initiative to feed poor hungry children. How unfortunate that our society does not recognize the true dietary need for these children, their spiritual needs. Without Jesus Christ as personal redeemer and Savior in their lives we are only helping them live unfulfilled lives on a full stomach. A sad commentary on our nation which has outlawed God in our schools, yet strives to give physical food instead of the real need of spiritual TRUTH. This is the ultimate oxymoron!

    • Okay yes being educated on religion is important but you literally NEED food to survive?? I don’t get your point? Let kids eat, honestly.

    • You can’t feed starving children with spirituality. In case you haven’t noticed, a benevolent ‘God’ most likely wouldn’t let children be starving, and unless you plan on shredding Bibles to feed children, religion has nothing to do with this. And religion is kept out of schools by necessity. Not every single person in the U.S. is a Catholic/Christian monotheistic believer. Atheists, Muslims, Jewish followers exist here too. Any education should never be impacted by the presence of religion. The state of Oklahoma recently banned AP US History because they felt it lead to dissent against the U.S. and gave the false idea of a separation of church and state. FALSE? It’s a clause in the Constitution! Practice your religion all you want, but spirituality doesn’t heal hunger.

  4. God bless this project of yours and that the hand of the Almighty manifest to provide all the needs you may have … I’ll be praying for the sake of this project … I am Brazilian and I live in Brazil in the state of Minas Gerais, in the city of Lajinha … This love of service that is provided for you, surely comes from the heart of the eternal God … Congratulations and best wishes to the whole team.
    In love of the Lord Jesus.
    Juarez Propato.
    I used Google translator to write this message, because I began to study English a few months on the internet and I have not enough knowledge.

  5. This is such an important service … so many kids don’t get enough to eat right in our own neighborhoods. Will work to get the word out!

  6. Good morning,

    I am a delegate, advocate, farmer, republican, and advisory for the people. I am always enhancing pubic relations and serving the people to have the best resources as housing, legal assistance, clothing, food, education, and medicine to be provided for the people that have no income or jobs. So, please sent me information for the nearest area that children can receive food or any other resource directly from the government, because I have been finding out that many organization are corrupted.

    Thank you for your time and understanding.
    Deus Spede

    Jose De Jesus De Luna
    AD June 10, 2015

  7. This is a great program for families. This program will bring relief for families during the summer when children are out of school. I believe this program should always have funding so there are no hungry children during the summer. I hope it is available to a lot of areas because childhood hunger is everywhere. Let’s end childhood hunger!

  8. Wow! This is a great program for the kids. This program can help a lot of children that are suffering from hunger. Keep doing this program for the better future of the kids. Thanks!

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