Free Summer Meals Available to Chicago Children this Summer from Catholic Charities
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 by Communications

Now through August 31, Catholic Charities will provide free, nutritious breakfast and lunch to low-income children up to the age of 18, five days a week at 135 community sites across Chicagoland. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that children receive nutritious meals even when school is not in session to help them learn, play, and grow. This summer, the agency expects to serve around 6,000 children and more than 200,000 nutritious meals. To find the nearest Catholic Charities Summer Food location, call (773) 729-3865.

Catholic Charities has operated Summer Food Service Programs for six years. To reach the neediest children, Catholic Charities uses 52 mobile delivery systems to distribute pre-packaged meals to Summer Food Site locations such as parks and apartment complexes. A typical lunch meal includes a sandwich, a fruit or vegetable – such as carrots, peach cups, or an apple – and one sweet treat weekly.

Along with nutritious food, staff also offer physical activities and nutrition education to children and their caretakers. Working with a network of community agencies, churches, schools, and park districts, Summer Food Service Programs help provide children with a safe environment.

“On one hand, a quarter million children in Cook County struggle with food insecurity and not knowing where their next meals will come from; yet, on another hand, many children struggle with childhood obesity,” said Diane Nunley, Associate Vice President of Special Supplemental Food Programs at Catholic Charities. “Our programs, with nutritious meals and physical activities, provide a safe environment to keep children healthy when school is not in session. Last year, there was a 30% increase in children’s understanding of the need to eat five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, and 96% of children understood that water is healthier than soda. The programs provide a relief to parents, who learn where their child’s next meal is coming from, as well as a lifelong impact to children, who learn how to live healthier lives.”

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