Summer sun, food & fun: Fresh and free meals for Utah kids

Utah is home to over 878,000 children, and the fastest growing population in the nation, which promises a bright future for our state.

However, when schools let out for the summer, over 200,000 of these children lost access to regular school meals. For the households who rely on these meals during the school year, as well as caretakers such as grandparents, family members, and neighbors, summer can be a stressful time. The summer nutrition programs fill this gap by providing free meals and snacks to all children, all summer long! 

The best way to meet children’s needs over the summer is with healthy meals served in positive community environments. In Utah, there are approximately 250 summer nutrition locations where kids 18 and younger can receive either breakfast, lunch, and/or supper for free. Meals are served Monday through Friday, but vary by location. Some locations are closed on Fridays, while others are open Saturday and Sunday. Participating school districts and nonprofits provide the free meals at schools, parks, libraries, other public agencies, and nonprofits. In 2016, over 1 million summer meals were served in Utah.  There is no registration or application to fill out for kids to participate, all they need to need to do is show up to receive a meal. “The summer nutrition programs are providing nutritious meals to kids in a safe, familiar environment. The majority of the meals served are prepared by the local school district, the same district that provided breakfast and lunch to students all school year,” said Marti Woolford, a child nutrition advocate with Utahns Against Hunger.

Not only do children benefit from the free meals, but they also benefit from the enrichment activities that keep them learning and engaged. Many sites provide activities throughout the summer. To find out more information about activities, contact the school district the site is located. 

Summer nutrition program locations and hours of operation can be found by going online to; by calling Utahns Against Hunger at 800-453-3663; or by texting “FOOD” to 877-877.