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Get Free Summer Meals for Kids

For many kids, summer is a fun and relaxing time—full of activities with family and friends. But for families that count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer break can be stressful and full of challenges. During these months, family food budgets can be stretched to the limit.

Help is available. In partnership with families and community partners, free summer meals are available to all kids and teens ages 18 and younger in eligible communities across Tennessee.

Watch the video below to learn more:

Find a Summer Food Service Program Site

To find a meal site near you, search the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s 2018 Summer Meal Site Finder using your address. Or search the kidcentral tn State Services Directory for “summer food” with your ZIP code. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites may have also been announced in your local newspaper.

United Way’s 2-1-1 phone system is also available for parents who are looking for information on SFSP sites in their local communities.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Details

Tennessee’s SFSP is managed by the Tennessee Department of Human Services and funded by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

Here are some details about the program:

  • Meals are free for children and teens ages 18 and younger who come to a SFSP site.
  • Meals are also provided to persons 19 and older who have a mental or physical disability and who participate during the school year in a public or private nonprofit school program established for individuals with disabilities.
  • Food served is healthy and follows the nutrition guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
  • No application or proof of income is necessary—just bring your child to a SFSP site in your community.

In addition to healthy meals, many Summer Food Service Program sites offer fun learning and recreational activities. Kids and teens can eat a meal while staying active and enjoying time with friends. Sites are also registered with the USDA and held at safe local meeting places like schools, churches and community centers.

Boosting Food Security

When people have food security, they have access to safe, nutritious food for a healthy and active life. Tennessee offers many statewide programs that promote food security and help families keep healthy food on the table year-round.

Find out more about programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Additional Resources

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is offered in July and August in Tennessee. The FMNP provides locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs to families with limited resources.

Hunger and Health’s Feeding America program provides food to people in need through a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.

Get information on eating healthy on a budget.

Learn more about household food insecurity in the U.S.

Learn about Family Resource Centers in Tennessee.