How to Access Free Summer Meals
It can be extra difficult to fill your fridge in the summer months. The good news is that there are free resources in communities across the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota that can help. This includes hundreds of free summer meals sites offering snacks and meals to all children and teens 18 years old and younger.
Meal sites are located at places like schools, libraries, and parks. Each meal site can serve up to two meals per day, like breakfast and lunch or a snack and dinner, and for at least this summer, meals are often bundled so kids have food for multiple days. Meals and snacks are available to children 18 and under, and at some sites, parents and caregivers can pick up the meals for their children.
Find a free summer meal site near you
To find a meal site, you first need to download the Free Meals For Kids app, available for free through the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
We created a video to explain how the app helps you locate meal sites near you or in a specific community. The app includes information about each meal site, including what kind of snacks and meals are available, hours of operation, the name of the organization who runs the site, and more. Be sure to visit the app throughout the summer, as hours of service may change.
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If you would rather not use the the app to find a free meal site, starting in July you can call the 2-1-1 United Way Hotline:
- Using a landline, dial 2-1-1.
- From a cellphone in the Twin Cities metro area, call 651-291-0211.
- Call 800-543-7709 in Greater Minnesota.
- Call 651-291-8840 for TTY.
More ways to keep your fridge full this summer
Free summer meal sites aren’t the only way to keep your fridge full this summer. In neighborhoods and towns across the state, there are food shelves and food distributions providing shelf-stable items (like cans and boxes of food) as well as fresh produce, dairy, and protein. You can look for a food shelf in your area by visiting the Hunger Solutions resource map or by calling them at 888-711-1151.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is another food resource that might be an option. SNAP provides a monthly financial benefit, in the form an EBT card, to help pay for groceries. Households qualify based on income and size, and our SNAP Outreach team is here to help you apply. Take the first step by completing a quick screening survey to see if you’re eligible. It takes less than 5 minutes. You can also call our SNAP hotline at 651-209-7963 and leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and preferred language.
All are welcome at free summer meal sites
Summer meal sites are made possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program to help ensure all kids have access to meals and snacks while they’re away from school. There is no need to register before visiting a meal site, and no personal information or identification will be required.
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More information on the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
Are you looking to learn more about how summer meals are funded or how to create a meal site in your area? Our Child Hunger team helps organizations, including schools, school districts, and nonprofit and community organizations establish and promote free meals sites, ensuring every child has access to the nutrition they need all year long. Visit our SFSP information page to learn more about our work and how you can help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
No. This is an open meal program which means you do not need to call ahead, sign-up, or fill out any paperwork. If you are 18 years old or younger, you can simply show up to receive the free meals and snacks available.
Kids 18 years old and younger can visit any meal site any time it is open. And you can visit as many times as you like, whether that’s every time meal service is offered or just a few times throughout the summer.
You are welcome to attend any meal site. All meal sites listed on the Free Meals for Kids app are open and will serve meals to anyone 18 years old and younger. Meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities over the age of 18 who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.
No. There are no required documents or paperwork needed. You will not be asked to fill out any information at the meal site.
This depends on the meal site. Each meal site can serve up to two meals per day, like breakfast and lunch or a snack and dinner. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meals are often bundled to last a few days. Download the Free Meals for Kids app to find out which meals are served at sites near you.
Meals are for kids 18 years old and younger. Some meal sites may offer meals to parents at a reduced price.
Many meal sites are serving to go meals and allowing families to take them home, and many sites offer bundled meals. Use the Free Meals for Kids app to see what your nearby meal site is offering.
There are hundreds of meal sites across the state, and each meal site is a little different. Some meal sites are large and some are small.
Meal delivery options vary by meal site, and delivery is not be available at every location. Resources like United Way can be a local resource for food delivery. Call 2-1-1 or 651-291-0211 from a cell phone in the Twin Cities Metro Area, 800-543-7709 in Greater Minnesota, or 651-291-8440 for TTY. You can also check with your local school district to see if there are meal delivery options available.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This program is funded by the USDA.