Improving summer food access for children: Fresh EBT launches Summer Meals map
We’re excited to announce that Fresh EBT now makes it easy for families across the country to find free summer meals for children! This feature is live on Fresh EBT for Android and is coming soon for Fresh EBT on iOS.
The government’s Summer Food Service Program makes free meals available during the summer months to children under the age of 18 — there are no income tests or other eligibility requirements. But many families don’t know that free meals may be just around the corner. Fresh EBT’s SNAP Stores map now shows the location and times of all summer meals sites across the country (and no EBT account is necessary to access the map).
Each day during the school year, nearly 22 million children can count on a free or reduced-price lunch. Nearly 10 million get breakfast as well. For many, these are the best meals of the day. But when school is out, five out of six of these children lose out on the benefit according to the Food Research & Action Center’s “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation” report. As such, low-income families spend an additional $1,000 on food on average over the summer months — and that’s when parents are able to scrape together the money at all — according to an estimate from No Kid Hungry.
The summer meals program is operated out of local places like libraries, schools, and parks. The program isn’t perfect, with controversy over how sites are selected and how funding is allocated. While some families find that sites are too far away, many simply don’t know that free meals are just around the corner.
Improving access to summer meals is a great example of what we’re building with Fresh EBT: a platform for connecting Americans to the programs, services, and information that boost their financial health and overall well-being.