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Nourishing Kids Through the 2023 Summer Food Service Program

Boy outside sitting at a table eating a chicken skewer.

Ensuring that children in our community have enough to eat is always a top priority for Food Bank of the Rockies, and meeting that need becomes an even more prescient challenge during the summer months. 

“During the school year, many children regularly receive breakfast and lunch through their schools. But once school is out for the summer, the need for consistent and balanced meals increases significantly,” said Food for Kids Manager Kodi Phelps. “The Summer Food Service Program plays a significant role in combating ‘summer slump’ and ensuring that children are receiving all of the nutrition they need in order to set them up for success when they return in the fall.” 

To make sure the children in our community continue to have access to food when school is out of session, we partner with the USDA Summer Food Service Program, which provides parents and caregivers access to free, nutritious meals for children and teenagers. Simply enter your ZIP Code into the official Summer Meal Site Finder or text “FOOD or ENGLISH” or “COMIDA or SPANISH” to 304-304 to locate all the pick-up sites near you. (Note: The language you first use to text will be the language used to communicate with you moving forward.) 

As a participating sponsor of this program, Food Bank of the Rockies provides upwards of 2,900 nutritious meals and snacks daily to dozens of Hunger Relief Partners to distribute to kids facing hunger across the Metro Denver region, Eastern Plains, and Western Slope. 

If your organization is interested in partnering with Food Bank of the Rockies to provide summer meals, please complete and submit this application. 

Young girl collecting food at a table through Food Bank of the Rockies Food for Kids program.

Quick Facts About the Summer Meals Program 

Who is eligible? 

Children and teens up to the age of 18. 

When does the program start and end? 

The program starts in June; each site has its own end date, which can be found on the Summer Meal Site Finder. 

What does it cost? 

All meals from the USDA Summer Food Service Program are free and available to all youth ages 18 and under. 

Where can I get a meal? 

Enter your ZIP Code into the Summer Meal Site Finder or text “FOOD or ENGLISH” or “COMIDA or SPANISH” to 304-304 to locate all the pick-up sites near you. (Please note that Food Bank of the Rockies does not provide meals at our distribution centers. The language you request/text in will be the language used to communicate with you moving forward.) 

What does a typical meal look like provided by Food Bank of the Rockies? 

Food Bank of the Rockies follows the USDA meal pattern for child nutrition program guidelines. Below are examples of what a meal could look like: 

Fresh Cold Meals: These come in unitized, sealed plastic trays and must be refrigerated prior to serving. Fresh meal example: Asian Chicken Tacos: Chicken strips, fresh red pepper, whole grain flour tortilla, Asian slaw, side of pineapple, served with white milk.

Shelf-stable “Super Snack” Meals: These come pre-assembled and packaged for sites with limited refrigeration and storage capacity. Shelf-stable meal example: Chicken salad, sunflower kernels, whole grain crackers, applesauce, 100% vegetable/fruit juice, white milk 

When children have access to nutritious food, they can focus on studying, playing, and just being kids. Food Bank of the Rockies is committed to ensuring each and every child in our community has enough food to eat year-round so that they can thrive. Help us ignite the power of community to nourish children facing hunger in our community today by volunteering with us or donating to Food Bank of the Rockies. Thank you! 

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