MISSOURI — Summer is here and everyone is out and about soaking up the sun, but some kids face increased food insecurity during the Summer months.

(MoDHSS)

KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to sit down with Tonya Harvey, Summer Food Service Program Manager for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), who said the department has programs to help ensure kids are getting all the food they need this Summer.

“The Summer Food Service Program is out there, really, to help ensure kids have access to nutritious meals during Summer months,” Harvey said. “When school is not in session, a lot of children face the possibility of not getting those meals that they expect during the school year.”

The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with money being forwarded from DHSS to schools and community organizations to pay for the meals.

“The program provides reimbursement to schools, but also to community agencies offering the healthy meals,” Harvey explained. “We contract with community organizations to serve the meals at schools, churches, parks, swimming pools, YMCA facilities, Boys and Girls clubs, pretty much anywhere children gather whenever school’s not in session.”

The meals are offered to anyone under the age of 18 or disabled persons under the age of 21 with no income requirement.

Resources are also available to help people find meal distribution centers by visiting the DHSS website or by texting ‘SUMMER MEALS’ to 97779.