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Utah News

Utah's Summer Lunch Program Needs Corporate Funding

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USDA Food and Nutrition Services
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The USDA is looking for more funding to help feed more children.

Matthew Anderson is the coordinator for the Child and Adult Care Food Program in Utah. He said there are more than 200 free meal locations throughout the state.

“We serve over a million meals in our state per summer throughout all the sites." Anderson said. "It’s first come, first serve at the open sites and the open sites are what most people identify with – they’re the sites located in the school or at a park. There’s usually a banner that says, ‘Kids Eat Free Here’ and you just go up and get in line and get a meal.”

Much of the program is funded through the USDA but like other states, including Wisconsin where a national department store chain is helping fund food programs in Milwaukee, Anderson said Utah is looking for more sponsors to help purchase more food and reduce the number of hungry children who need food in the summer. 

“In order to open a site it has to be in an area where at least half the children qualify for free or reduced meals," Anderson said. "But once a site is established we encourage everyone to get out and support these sites and take children out and enjoy a free healthy meal. It’s a way to encourage kids to get off the couch during the summer and get outside and visit some of these parks and play and just enjoy the summer.”

He said many of the sites, like schools, serve more than just lunch. Many serve breakfast as well with some even serving snacks and supper. The program is for all children, 18 and under, including children too young to attend school.