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Free Summer Meals Available Statewide

Call 2-1-1 to Find Free Meal Sites in Your Community

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Summer Food Service Program is now underway at more than 200 program sites in 15 communities, where free meals will be served to Rhode Island students this summer.

“Increasing participation in school meals and in summer meals is a goal of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet because we recognize that academic performance and lifelong success are closely linked to a student’s overall well-being,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “During the summer months, too many kids lose access to healthy meals, and are unaware of the options that are available to them. I call on our partners across the state to help spread the word that the Summer Meals Program is underway and is available to all kids ages 18 and under.”

During the school year, approximately 73,000 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 470,000 meals.

“The Summer Meals Program is a critical component of our year-long strategy to provide adequate nutrition for Rhode Island students,” said First Gentleman Andy Moffit, a strong supporter of child nutrition programming. “Last summer, we served more than 470,000 meals, and we’re determined to surpass that number this year. Participation in the Summer Meals Program is a great way to not only keep kids healthy, but also to keep them active and engaged in their communities.”

The Children’s Cabinet goal of increasing participation across all student meal programs is part of the Third Grade Reading Action Plan, developed by a cross-agency team in response to Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s goal of doubling the number of students reading proficiently by third grade by the year 2025.

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, no forms for families to fill out, and no proof of residency or address required.

To find a summer meals site, families can visit the RIDE website or call 2-1-1.