Thousands Of Children Missing Out On Free Summer Meals

Families aren’t taking advantage of a free federal program

Kid's Lunch
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Only a fraction of children in Allegheny County are taking advantage of free summer meals.

The meals are supplied through the federal Summer Food Service Program offered through the USDA.

Chris West with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News about 70,000 kids qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the school year and many struggle with hunger in the summer months unnecessarily.

“Participation in the summer food program is 10,000 or 11,000 kids a day,” West said. “So we know that we need to be reaching tens of thousands more kids.”

But kids don’t have to qualify for food assistance in order to snag free sandwiches.

“With the summer food program, most sites are open to any kid,” West explained. “Whether they get free meals, reduced meals, whether they pay for meals, whether they bring meals from home during the school year, any kid – no paperwork or registration – can go to these sites.”

West says there are hundreds of sites in Allegheny County alone, and even more across the region and country.

Find a Summer Food sites and schedules by calling the United Way hotline at 2-1-1, texting “FOOD” to 877-877 or visiting the USDA Summer Meal Site Finder.

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