Des Moines Public Schools' free summer meal program begins
Des Moines Public Schools' free summer meals program, Grab-n-Go Meals, starts Monday for anyone under age 18, regardless of family income levels.
Why it matters: Thousands of children in central Iowa rely on free school programs for most of their weekday meals.
- Summer break can leave kids without a stable food source, which can stunt their development and have long-term effects on their health.
The state of play: Nearly 24,000 DMPS students — almost 80% — are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.
- Since the pandemic, some programs have expanded or relaxed guidelines to make sure children have access to nutritious meals during school closures and other virus-related restrictions.
The big picture: An estimated 13 million children in the U.S. face summer food insecurity, according to Feeding America.
What they're saying: Fewer than 8% of the 40K students who need summer meal assistance in central Iowa get it, according to Central Iowa Shelter & Services, which helps run the Meet-Ups program.
- Lack of knowledge is part of why they're underused, Food Bank of Iowa president Michelle Book told Axios.
Here's is a rundown of some free food programs in the city this summer:
- Grab-n-Go Meals are available at nine sites between 11:30am-12:30pm Mon-Fri, today through Aug. 13. Find more details here.
- United Way's Summer Meal Meet-Ups are open to kids Mon-Fri at more than a dozen sites. Call 211 or text “food” or “comida” to 877-877.
- Drive-thru pantries, organized by the Food Bank of Iowa, are also helping out students and their families across DSM. No ID is required.
More Des Moines stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.