Summer Meals Program for Colorado Kids Keeps on Growing

School's out for summer, and now it falls to parents to manage the daily details of providing nutritious food for the kids. But they do have help.

Since 2009, nutrition advocacy group Hunger Free Colorado has coordinated a statewide network of sites to distribute summer meals for children up through age 18 - and that can include breakfast, lunch and dinner, said Michelle Ray, communications director for Hunger Free Colorado,  on radio KUVO's  "First Take with Lando and Chavis."

The program can be particularly important for families whose children qualify for free or reduced meals during the school year.

"It's the time when children are at the greatest risk of hunger because they're losing access to school meals, and families are having to stretch their food budget farther, so it can be challenging," said Ray.

Jalia H., won the 2014 poster contest for summer meals through Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

Hunger Free Colorado / Hand out photo

Jalia H., won the 2014 poster contest for summer meals through Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

The program expects to serve 1.34 million meals this summer, a significant increase, Ray said, from the up to 750,000 meals it provided in the first year. The meals are available at 500 community sites statewide, including churches and recreation centers.

Locations can be found at the program's web site,, or by calling the statewide, multilingual Hunger Free Hotline at (855) 855-4626.

The summer meals program for Colorado kids is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Department of Education, Hunger Free Colorado and "a ton of other partners who actually provide the food," Ray said.

The free program is remarkably hassle-free, with no ID or income requirements.


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