Summer meals | LiveWell Colorado

Many families across Colorado face nutrition shortfalls especially in the summer when school meal programs aren’t available. To address this gap, organizations across the state are launching coordinated efforts to bring free summer meals to Colorado kids, but they need your help to do it. Many of the community-based sites, which include churches, schools, and rec centers, will also have activities for kids, so you can bring the whole family and have fun while supporting community health!

To find a summer meal program near you, visit the Colorado Kids Food Finder.

To find a site near you that needs volunteers, email Ashley Moen, the statewide coordinator, at Moen_A@cde.state.co.us or, if you live in Denver, email Andrea Garcia at andrea.garcia@denvergov.org.

Denver and Longmont both partnered with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) through the Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative which supports cities trying to expand their afterschool and summer meal programs and fosters city leadership to champion these programs. Longmont Children, Youth and Families division manager Christina Pacheco recently told the Boulder Daily Camera, “A lot of families really depend on kids being in school during the school day and there’s that gap in the summer, especially if the family is working hard to make ends meet.” Sims noted that the monthly food costs for a family of four in Boulder county is $926, or roughly of the monthly income for families living at the federal annual poverty level.

Longmont, which began working with the CHAMPS initiative in the summer of 2015, is now expanding their summer meals program thanks to a nearly $100,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. The new funding is helping Longmont expand its programming. The city is now offering a grocery cart worth of food to participating families every two weeks and offering education programming at summer meal sites to keep students’ minds sharp during the summer.

Colorado Springs is running one of the state’s larger programs. District D-11 is serving meals in 33 locations this summer, including 17 sites served by a mobile food truck. Like the program in Englewood, District D-11’s program is free for anyone under 18, and parents need only pay a small charge to eat with their kids. The program served 79,000 meals last summer. Harrison School District 2 is also serving meals at 4 sites this summer and Falcon School District 49 at one.

Statewide, the Colorado Department of Education is working hard to promote existing summer meal sites. The department is advertising with retailers like Family Dollar, and other summer sites popular with students like movie theaters. In total, there are more than 500 locations across the state offering free meals to students. Even Governor Hickenlooper is getting involved, recording robo-calls that are marketing the programming in neighborhoods served by a summer meal site.

To find a summer meal program near you, visit the Colorado Kids Food Finder.

To find a site near you that needs volunteers, email Ashley Moen, the statewide coordinator, at Moen_A@cde.state.co.us or, if you live in Denver, email Andrea Garcia at andrea.garcia@denvergov.org.