MMSD Summer Food Program helps low-income children

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- As the school year is ending, many kids who depend on free or reduced price meals at school might soon be without a meal.

The Madison Metropolitan School District is trying to fill that gap with their Summer Food Program.

Starting Monday, June 24, kids can eat up to two meals for free at 32 sites around Madison. The sites are open Monday through Friday, serving breakfast, lunch and snack.

The sites are decided based on how many kids in the school or in the area qualify for free or reduced price meals.

Kris Tazelaar with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin said summer is particularly hard on families struggling with food insecurity.

"Kids are no longer getting that lunch and in some cases, breakfast at school, so we know that their families have a couple extra meals to try to provide at home, so that's why we typically will actually see increased demand at some of our pantry and meal site program partners," Tazelaar said.

MMSD also tries to make the free meals as healthy as possible. The district partners with REAP Food Group to add locally grown produce to the meals.

Tazelaar said the healthy meals help kids do well in school.

"When they don't have enough healthy nutritious food then they struggle in school. They can't concentrate on tests, they're more irritable in school, they have a tendency to maybe bully some kids, again because they're struggling. And ultimately, their dropout rates are higher," he said.

The Summer Food Program will run until August 16. For more information about locations, times and menus, click here.