Children in Nevada can receive free, nutritious meals during the summer months

RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) -- The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development is working closely with its sister agency, the Food and Nutrition Service, to help alleviate hunger by providing free, nutritious meals to children during the summer.

Childhood hunger is a reality and a persistent problem throughout the entire country, especially in rural areas, and the officials at the USDA's Rural Development say the agency is committed to expanding their impact through innovative partnerships.

They are joining forces with the Nevada Department of Agriculture that runs the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in order to fill that gap by "providing good, nutritious food that's 'in' when school is 'out.'"

The program ensures that children ages 18 years or younger, in low income areas can continue receiving meals during school vacations. Under this program, children can receive up to (i) two meals, (ii) one meal and a snack, or (iii) two snacks everyday.

With regard to SFSP, Diane Hogan, a nutrition programs professional at the Nevada Department of Agriculture, says "Nevada’s youth need nutritious meals year round, and the Summer Food Service program provides food for children outside the normal school year. All families have to do is show up to an open meal site, and their child will be fed, no questions asked. ... Last year, more than 850,000 meals were distributed by schools, nonprofits, government agencies, Native American tribes and other partners, and we are still looking for organizations to sponsor feeding sites throughout Nevada.”

If you'd like to become a Summer Food Service Program site, you can click here for more information.

Another organization that's providing free summer meals to children is the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Starting Wednesday, June 13th the organization will start its 2018 Free Summer Meals program, providing free meals, five days a week to children in Washoe County.

A list of sites with times, dates and meals served is available by calling 1-866-3-HUNGER, or you can find a site closest to you by texting the word "FOOD" to 877-877, or you can click here.

All participating sites welcome all children between the ages of 18 years or younger and while they must eat their meals on site, they do not need to be enrolled in any program at the meal site.

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