ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Stateline children will have access to free meals this summer. It’s part of a program that’s been around for decades. But organizers say not as many families participate as could take part.
We spoke with Rockford’s community programs manager who says the goal is to keep kids healthy.
Organizers want kids to stay nourished over the summer so they’re ready to learn again come fall
“We’re always looking for new partners so we can feed more kids,” said Community Programs Manager Christopher Greenwood.
A program designed to make sure no kids in the Stateline go without meals is back again this summer.
“Kids under the age of 18 can go to the sites and all they need to do is walk in and say I’m here for the lunch program,” said Greenwood. “It’s really important that we get the word out so families know that children can come get a nutritious meal during the summertime.”
The program is free but Greenwood says not all kids utilize it.
“Not only in our area but throughout the country it is estimated that 1 in 4 children do not utilize this program,” he said. “We’ve been running this program for 30 plus years, it is a program designed to provide children with a nutritious meal when school is not in session.”
Over 30 sites between Boone and Winnebago Counties will serve up the food starting June 14.
“We try to put sites throughout the City of Rockford where we know it’s going to be in walking distance or driving distance for a family,” Greenwood added.
“Last year during the pandemic it was mostly grab-and-go-sites. This year the sites are going to do different types of programming so the kids will have activities to do, and they will eat on site and they’ll get to see their friends again.”
Greenwood says the goal is to make sure kids in the Stateline are ready to learn.
“We don’t want kids to go hungry, and we want them to go back to school prepared,” he added. “If they don’t have nutritious meals throughout the summertime we know they’re not going to be prepared to learn in the fall.”
Organizers have made it really easy to find these sites.
To find a site, text “FoodIL” to 877877, visit SummermealsIllinois.org or call 1-800-359- 2163.
You can also check the Site list below to identify a neighborhood or go to https://rockfordil.gov/city-departments/human-services/community-services/