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foodprogramBy Jenna Stefin

For many kids, summer is the best time of the year. School and homework become a long lost memory as winter coats are traded for flip-flops and bathing suits. As the days get longer, there seems to be endless free time to play, whether at home, camp, a special summer program, or just hanging out in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, for many families in Massachusetts, summer can also be a time of worrying about having enough food. During the school year, the National School Lunch Program helps over a third of children in Massachusetts buy free or reduced cost breakfasts and lunches. So what happens when school is not in session?

The Summer Food Service Program run by the Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread can help! This federally-funded initiative provides free meals to children under 18 during the summer. The meals are served at a variety of locations, including schools, parks, community centers, and religious organizations. As an added benefit, most sites offer child-friendly activities in addition to meals.  . Visit www.meals4kids.org to see where your child or someone you know can participate in the program.  Depending on the location, the sites will open at different times but most will be open the week before or after July 4th.  Questions about eligibility and site locations can also be answered by calling 1-800-645-8333 and visiting www.meals4kids.org.

Jenna Stefin is a dietetic intern at Tufts University.

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