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Food insecurity is a problem for many children when school lets out for the summer.

For those kids who rely on school for free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), summer can be a time of hunger and anxiety. No child should go hungry, and there are programs in communities across Illinois to help ensure that throughout the summer months.

Rise and Shine Illinois is one organization that is dedicated to helping provide those children in need with access to meals during the summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The program provides free meals to kids ages 18 and under during the summer. It is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.

There are a variety of “Meal Sites” available, where children can access free meals. However, despite efforts to bring awareness to the program, it continues to be underutilized. If you or someone you know could utilize the meal service program, visit the organization’s website, summerfeedingillinois.org, to find the closest meal site to you.