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3 Programs to Keep Kids Well-Fed All Summer

When school ends for the summer, so do the free breakfasts and lunches relied on by nearly 30 million U.S. children on an average day. For many families, school meals bridge the gap between food budgets and hungry bellies, making summer a season of struggle instead of fun and relaxation.

Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) calls this challenge the summer food gap. Fortunately, USDA’s SUN Programs give families new and convenient ways to get nutritious food for their kids when school’s out.

  1. SUN Bucks: Receive $120 per eligible school-aged child to buy more of your family’s favorite foods, from fresh fruits and vegetables to pantry staples.
  2. SUN Meals: Children 18 and under can enjoy free meals together at eligible sites.
  3. SUN Meals To-Go: In some rural areas, SUN Meals can be picked up or delivered to your home.

SUN Bucks: New Grocery Benefit

A summary of the SUN Bucks program SUN Bucks is a new grocery benefit available across most of the U.S. Families with eligible school-aged children can get $120 per child to buy groceries during the summer, making it possible to stock their pantries with nutritious food.

SUN Bucks can be used to purchase these nutrient-rich grocery items:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

Families can use it along with benefits like SNAP to help children reach their full potential!

Find out which U.S. tribes, states, and territories are participating in SUN Bucks, and get the full enrollment details:

SUN Meals: Free Meals and Snacks for Kids

Sun Meals - no-cost meals for kids this summer SUN Meals provides no-cost summer meals and snacks at community locations like schools and parks, where fun activities and good food keep kids fed and engaged.

Families can enjoy SUN Meals even if they don’t live in an area participating in the SUN Bucks program. In fact, SUN meals are available to all kids and teens aged 18 and younger — no need to apply or enroll!

Check the USDA Summer Meals for Kids Site Finder every Friday throughout the summer to find SUN Meals locations:

SUN Meals To-Go: Summer Meals in Rural Places

In rural communities where SUN Bucks or SUN Meals aren’t available or accessible, families may be able to pick up no-cost summer meals through SUN Meals To-Go — or even get them delivered!

As with SUN Meals, there’s no need to apply for SUN Meals To-Go. If the program is offered in your area, anyone 18 and younger can participate.

Check if SUN Meals To-Go is available in your area and find pick-up locations on the USDA Summer Meals for Kids Site Finder:

Good Food for Every Kid — All Summer

Two children enjoying meals during the summer Filling the summer food gap with nutritious food means every family can thrive through the summer season instead of struggling to survive it.

SUN Bucks, SUN Meals, and SUN Meals To-Go may have different names in different areas, but the benefits remain the same: healthy, filling meals and snacks for kids and teens.

Want to help us get the word out about these exciting SUN Programs? Download colorful flyers, posters, stickers, social media posts, newsletters, and more!

Because no kid should spend the summer months hungry.

A mother and her two kids laugh while picnicking on cherries outside

NEW: SUN Bucks Grocery Benefit

Over 13 million chidren are impacted by the summer food gap. That's why the USDA created new programs to bring meals to children this summer, including SUN Bucks, which offers $120 for food to participating families.

Check if I'm eligible