Middle school students choosing healthy food in cafeteria lunch line

The Colorado Department of Education is seeking entities to sponsor meal sites for its summer nutrition program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the Summer Food Service Program, which states then carry out. The states reimburse organizations that serve free, healthy meals to children in low-income areas during the summer.

“Summer break can be a struggle for families who suddenly must deal with things like child care and meal preparation during the workday,” said Erin Ulric, implementation director of the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger initiative. “We are excited to collaborate with partners across the state to raise awareness of the importance of the Summer Meals Program in reducing child hunger year-round.”

A 2018 report found that for every 100 low-income Colorado children who received free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, fewer than nine received lunch during the summer from the state-administered program. Only eight states had a lower ratio than Colorado.

One school district nutrition director remarked at the time that two-thirds of her students qualified for free and reduced-price lunch, and during the summer, “I don’t know where those kids are eating.”

Eligible site sponsors include school districts, local government agencies, camps and other nonprofit community organizations. The program serves children who are age 18 and younger.

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