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Chicago public schools offering free summer lunches for nearly the duration of the season
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Chicago public schools offering free summer lunches for nearly the duration of the season

Great program

Chicago public schools is offering free summer lunches for area children. The program will extend throughout the summer season.

What are the details?

According to the Chicago Tribune, lunches are served daily at 98 different outdoor locations across the city.

The program is open to children ages 1 to 18.

The outlet reported that at least 43 percent of low-income families have an even harder time finding the funds in the summer to take care of their families.

Derrick Lambert of the No Kid Hungry campaign, said, "For a lot of us, we think about summer as a carefree time. But actually, we know rates of hunger and food insecurity increase when school is out."

The Tribune reported that in just one county, 184,900 children in the area live in "food insecure homes." The paper defines food insecurity as "a lack of economic resources that results in inadequate access to food."

To combat that, Chicago Public Schools implemented the plan to hand out free lunches to children at LunchStops located at area schools across the city. The program is also open to children who aren't enrolled in a CPS school.

Crystal Cooper, director of nutrition support services at CPS, said, "If grandparents are having kids from down south or up north or whatever, they can bring the whole family out. If you have little cousins, nieces, or nephews, or friends, bring them all."

Meal offerings include sandwiches, a variety of fruit and vegetables, and beverages.

She added, "Nutrition is something we know fuels students' minds, fuels students' brains. We are continuing [free meal] options throughout the year in areas where students may be in food deserts or do not have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and variety."

In 2018, the program fed more than 140,000 students.

In 2017, 12 of every 100 students in the district received free lunches during the summer.

Jim Conwell of the Greater Chicago Food Depository said, "We need to spread the word. When children don't have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from during the summer months, it gives them the opportunity to be kids ... live, learn and play, and get refreshed for the next school year."

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