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First Gentleman, Commissioner Wagner Kick Off Summer Meals Program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – First Gentleman Andy Moffit and Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner officially kicked off the Summer Food Service Program today at a statewide celebration in Central Falls, one of nearly 100 program sites that will serve free meals to Rhode Island students this summer.

“One in eight Rhode Island households experience food insecurity at some point each month. Hunger doesn’t take the summer off, so neither should we,” said First Gentleman Andy Moffit. “You cannot be at your best, no matter who you are or what age you are, without access to good, nutritious food. I’m proud to support this initiative and all efforts across the state that keep our kids healthy, happy, and supported.”

Communities must have 50 percent of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch in order to be eligible to participate in the program. Meals provided through the summer program, however, are available at no cost to all children ages 18 and under, with no eligibility criteria and no forms for families to fill out. To find a summer meals site, families can visit the RIDE website or call 2-1-1.

“The summer meals program has grown significantly in recent years, and we’re excited to build on that momentum so that even more children have access to free, healthy meals this summer,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner. “I hope that parents, families, students, program sponsors, and community partners will all join with us to spread the word about this important initiative.”

During the school year, nearly 76,000 Rhode Island students receive meals daily through the National School Lunch program, but in the summer months, many children lose access to quality nutrition. Since 2013, Rhode Island has increased participation in the Summer Food Service Program by more than 50 percent, and last summer, the program served more than 400,000 meals.

To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program and other nutrition programs for Rhode Island students, visit the RIDE website.