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Summer meal program offers students free meals in Sioux Falls

Many families who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year face a budget crunch when that option goes away during the summer.

In Sioux Falls, changes have been made to make free meals more accessible families facing food insecurity.

The program provides free meals for kids in the Sioux Falls area, and it’s officially underway with the start of summer vacation.

“We actually have a few more open locations, that means that anyone 18 and under can walk in," said Sioux Falls School District child nutrition coordinator Gay Anderson. "We qualified eight different locations for that. We’ve actually extended our summer program this year by two weeks compared to what we’ve always done. We’re hoping to be able to help as many families and children as possible.”

Anderson said it’s as easy as showing up.

“All they have to do is walk through the door, we don’t question anything," Anderson said. "We serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. everyday at our open locations, and we have six locations we have breakfast offered also. Breakfast is offered from 8 to 8:30 a.m.”

She said the program covers real need in the Sioux Falls area.

“In some situations, it might be perhaps the only meal of the day these children are getting," Anderson said. "We’re available to give them a healthy, nutritious meal meeting all kinds of USDA guidelines.”

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture