RIDE Extends Summer Meals Program

Grab-and-Go Sites Remain Available Across the State

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) is extending the Summer Food Service Program through December 31, 2020, enabling many schools and other sites to provide meals – both breakfast and lunch – free to all children and youth, 18 years old and younger.

«We owe it to our young people to do all we can to support their physical and academic well-being, especially as we deal with this unprecedented public health challenge,» said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. «Extending the Summer Food Service Program will ensure that students across Rhode Island have continuing access to nutritious meals and families have one fewer worry on their list.»

The Summer Food Service Program for children, financed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, typically provides free meals to children from targeted communities and is designed to maintain and expand nonprofit food programs for children during the summer months.

However, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, many schools have newly adopted or extended this very important source of well balanced meals. Schools that open «in person» whether fully or partially will continue to offer meals at school. In many schools, these meals will be free to all students.

For those students who are attending school fully or partially via distance learning, meals will be available for pick up either at the student’s home school or at a designated «grab and go» location. There will be locations across Rhode Island where parents may go to pick up meals for their children.

Families may access any of these open «grab and go» sites regardless of the community they live in or what schools their children attend. A list of locations offering «grab and go» meals is available at https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/about/foodsites/

Families should look for specific guidance and instructions from their child’s school. Districts and schools that normally offer school meals during the school year will offer meals in ways that work for their particular circumstances, especially if they have not opened for full operations.

For more information on the program, call the RIDE Office of Statewide Efficiencies, at (401) 222-4253.