Food Depository Launches Annual Summer Meals Program For Kids

CHICAGO (CBS) — Kids will be out for the summer on Tuesday if they’re in the Chicago Public Schools system, but it’s not always a great thing to be on break. because some kids have trouble getting healthy meals outside of school.

CPS offers free breakfast and lunch to all students throughout the school year, and it can be a help for low-income families.

Jim Conwell, spokesman for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, said the need for food is generally higher in the summer.

“For families who are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, when their children are out of school, that’s an additional expense,” he said.

Only 14 of every 100 students who receive free meals during the school year take advantage of the district’s summer meals program, according to Conwell.

“Summer meals historically haven’t been utilized at the same level as school free and reduced-price meals. So we know that there’s a gap where there are children in need who can use good, nutritious meals during the summer,” he said.

Conwell said, in total, with all their summer meal partners, the Greater Chicago Food Depository will have about 1,000 sites where kids can get free meals this summer.

“We distribute those meals at kids’ café sites. We distribute those meals at some public library locations,” he said.

Anyone 18 and under can receive a free meal from the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

A list of summer meal sites is available at summerfeedingillinois.org, or by texting FOODIL to 877877. You can also call 800-359-2163 to find a site near you.

A generous family has agreed to match every gift of up to $25,000 to the Food Depository through June 21. Donations can be made here.

Last summer, the organization distributed about 600,000 meals.

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