Illinois seeks partners for summer meals program in 33 counties

SHARE Illinois seeks partners for summer meals program in 33 counties
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Daisy Aguirre and Joe Brislen hand out free lunches as part of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s traveling Lunch Bus program, which tries to make sure children who depend on school meal programs don’t miss out during the summer. | Photo by Mark Brown

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials are looking for partners to help provide meals to children in low-income areas over the summer when school isn’t in session.

The Illinois State Board of Education administers the Summer Food Service Program. The state receives federal reimbursement to cover the costs of preparing and serving meals.

In 2018 there were about 2,200 summer meal sites in Illinois.

Outgoing State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said Illinois is already planning for this summer. He says there are 33 counties that don’t have any sites. Smith says not having access to school lunch and breakfast over the summer “poses a significant challenge” for many families.

Nonprofits, local governments and school districts may set up serving sites at community locations such as schools, churches and libraries.

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