2023 Summer Food Service Program to provide tens of thousands of children meals at no cost
MALDEN – The Healey-Driscoll Administration, in collaboration with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), will launch the 2023 Summer Food Service Program or Summer Eats, as it is known in Massachusetts, in June and hope additional sponsor organizations join them.
Summer Eats is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded initiative that provides free, nutritious meals to children when school is not in session. In Massachusetts, DESE administers the program.
Across the Commonwealth, more than 520,000 children qualify for free or low-cost school meals during the school year. However, during the summer months, children and families lose access to those nutritious meals, and families frequently find it difficult to replace them. Through Summer Eats, DESE will ensure that tens of thousands of Massachusetts students still have access to the meals they depend on during the school year.
This year, Summer Eats will provide nutritious meals to children at hundreds of locations in eligible areas throughout the state. The summer meal sites include schools and other community centers, from parks to summer camps. Like in years past, DESE is hoping additional organizations join them in sponsoring meal sites.
In 2022, Wilmington High was the local Summer Eats pickup site. Learn more about the program.
“No student should go hungry just because school is out for the summer. With the Summer Eats program, we can ensure sure Massachusetts students remain healthy and growing by providing access to nutritious meals year-round,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick A. Tutwiler. “We’re grateful to all the sponsors who have helped with this initiative in the past, and we encourage more to join us this year.”
“No-cost meals for children are a critical support for families and communities when school is out,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “Summer Eats is an important part of DESE’s work during the summer months, but we can’t do it without community partners.”
Participation in Summer Eats has increased annually since targeted outreach initiatives were implemented in 1992. Last summer, 120 sponsoring organizations fed thousands of young people each day at more than 1,200 feeding sites across the state. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education expects the program to grow again this year.
Many Summer Eats programs will open before July 4 and operate until early September. Sponsors run the sites with close technical support from DESE and outreach assistance from the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread.
For information on Summer Eats, including how to become a sponsor, call Project Bread at 617-723-5000.