Hunger doesn’t take a vacation when school lets out for the summer. In Maryland, over 246,000 children rely on free and reduced price school breakfast and lunch on a daily basis during the school year. When summer rolls around, these children suddenly lose access to the reliable, nutritious meals that help them develop healthy and strong brains and bodies.
Maryland’s Summer Food Service Program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children (ages 18 and under) in low-income areas during June, July, and August when school is not in session. Meals and snacks are served at sites which can be located at schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, local libraries, recreation centers and other places in neighborhoods across the state.
Free summer meals help families stretch their food budgets throughout the summer months. Serving free meals strengthens recreation and enrichment programs by providing a source of federal funding for nutritious food. Participation in summer programming and free summer meals helps to reduce learning loss for children, and helps them return to school ready to learn.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is working collaboratively at all levels to overcome the barriers associated with the program to ensure that children throughout Maryland have access to nutritious free meals during the summer.
How you or your organization can get involved:
- Visit mdsummermeals.org to find a summer meals site near you, including hours and days of operation and directions to the site.
- Spread the word to families with children in your community about local sites.
- Become a sponsor, prepare food, or operate a free summer meals site.
- Volunteer at a local site to help with meal services or activities.
- Advocate in your school district or community for a free summer meals site.
How Maryland Hunger Solutions can help:
- Identify areas of eligibility for new sites.
- Provide technical assistance to communities interested in establishing a summer meals site.
- Educate both families and potential providers in communities about the benefits of the Summer Food Service Program.
- Locate grants to assist sites and sponsors with creation or expansion of their Summer Food Service Program.
- Provide outreach materials for program promotion.
- Refer families and community members to sites in their area through the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland’s Hunger Hotline and summer meals website.
To learn more:
- See county participation in summer meals.
- Download Maryland’s latest Summer Food Service Program Report: Serving Maryland’s Children – Measuring Access to the Summer Nutrition Programs (June 2012) (pdf).
- Download the Guide to the Summer Food Service Program (pdf) to find out more about the Summer Food Service Program and how to become a sponsor or site.
- Visit our Best Practices page to see how others have gotten involved in the Summer Food Service Program.
- Review the Summer Food Service Program in Maryland (pdf) webinar slides.
- Visit our frequently asked questions page.