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

Black students eating lunch in school cafeteria
JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images/Tetra images RF
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Tetra images RF
The Idaho State Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program offers free meals for students under the age of 18. (Tom Grill/Getty Images)

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.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.