Iowa families who rely on schools to help feed their children during the school year have access to meals served in schools, community centers and other sites this summer. The meals come at no charge through a federally funded program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program provides thousands of meals to Iowa children in low-income areas. These meals are intended to replace school meal programs that are unavailable during the summer. The federally funded program is administered by the Iowa Department of Education and local sponsors.

“The Summer Food Service Program helps children maintain proper nutrition all summer long so that they return to school in the fall ready to learn,” said Stephanie Dross, an Iowa Department of Education consultant.

The program will operate about 500 meal sites across Iowa from June through August. Each site is administered by a local sponsor, including schools, churches, local cities, and other private nonprofit community organizations. Sponsors may begin serving meals and snacks as soon as their local school districts have ended classes for the school year, meaning that service dates will vary throughout Iowa.

The sites are open to all children ages 18 and under. No identification or sign-in is required. Many sites offer learning and recreational activities for children.

Locations serving meals in the area include Freedom for Youth, Auld Park, Knoxville Public Library, West Elementary, Knoxville High School, Melcher-Dallas City Park, Melcher-Dallas Elementary and Twin Cedars Elementary. Visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, call 211 or 1-866-3-HUNGRY, or text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 to find serving times and dates.