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Free meals for hungry kids

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 10:03 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 10:36 a.m. CDT

About 2,100 sites across the state are serving free breakfasts and lunches to children 18 and younger this summer through a program funded by the USDA and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. At more than half the sites, no application or proof of family income is required.

“These healthy meals will help keep students well-fed and prepared for success when the school bell rings this fall,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Research clearly shows proper nutrition impacts student achievement.”

Families can search for a nearby free meal site at www.summerfeedingillinois.org. People can also text “FoodIL” to 877-877. Texters will be prompted to send a full mailing address, after which they will receive the address and serving times of the closest summer meal sites.

Despite a slight increase in the number of low-income children eating summer meals nationwide in July 2012, the Summer Nutrition Programs continue to fall far short of the goal to curb summer hunger, according to a recent report by the Food Research and Action Center. The “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report” and a summary are available online at  http://frac.org/new-frac-report-finds-summer-meals-continue-to-fall-short/.

According to the report, Illinois saw a small increase in the number of lunches served from June-August 2012 compared to the previous summer.

Local meal sites

Sites serve Monday through Friday.

• Rock Christian Church, 300 E. Taylor St., DeKalb

9-9:30 a.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m. through Aug. 1

• Kishwaukee Family YMCA, 2500 W. Bethany Road, DeKalb

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3-3:45 p.m. through Aug. 27

• New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1201 Twombly Road, DeKalb

11-11:45 a.m. through Aug. 1

• First United Methodist Church, 321 Oak St., DeKalb

Noon-2 p.m. through Aug. 23

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