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School Nutrition Professionals Remind MN Communities of Free Healthy Summer Meals Available
More than 700 locations in Minnesota serve free meals to school-aged children and the Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA), a non-profit association of school foodservice professionals across the state, supports efforts to maintain local students’ access to healthy meals while school is out over the summer months. Minnesota’s Summer Food Service program provides nearly three million free, nutritious meals to children 18 and younger in 700-plus locations across the state.
“We want to ensure that school-aged children have access to healthy meals, even when school is out for the summer,” said MSNA President Amy Thering. “We are all dedicated to providing balanced meals for children across Minnesota, many of whom do not have access to healthy options at home. Providing the community with this service is vital in the fight against childhood hunger.”
Supported by schools and local camps, churches, community group and other sites, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Food and Nutrition Service. MSNA members work in school cafeterias across the state during the school year to ensure students have nutritious school meals through programs including the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Many schools provide meals for the summer program and serve students in their communities on-site as well as in alternate locations. Mobile food units also help spread access to healthy summer food meals for school-aged children.
To find local Summer Food Service sites in the state of Minnesota, visit www.summereatsmn.org. Those looking summer meals in the Twin Cities Metro Area, call 651-291-0211 and for Greater Minnesota locations, call 800-543-7709.
The National Hunger Hotline, 1-866-3-HUNGRY, operated by WhyHunger, is a toll-free phone number available to people in need of food assistance all year. Families can also call the National Hunger Hotline to find summer meal sites in their communities.