Committed to Ending Childhood Hunger in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

5 Myths about the USDA Summer Meal Program

1. Myth: USDA Summer Meal Programs are only for young children.

Fact: Anyone 18 and under can receive meals through our Summer Meal Programs! Teens face the same risks of food insecurity in the summer, so make sure your teens are taking advantage of free summer meals too!

 2. Myth: To get a meal, I have to sign my children up at the site ahead of time.

Fact: Most Summer Meal Program sites are ‘open sites,’ which means they are open to the community and do not require that children sign up in advance or even ‘check-in’ at the site. Children and teens must simply show up at the site to get their meal. Remember, the meal has to be eaten at the site! Most residential and day camps do require that you sign up for their program in advance in order to receive free meals.

3. Myth: I already receive benefits from SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), so my children can’t receive meals from this Program.

Fact: USDA Summer Meal Programs supplement the meals that your children receive during the school year. Regardless of what other assistance your family may receive, open Summer Meal Program sites will provide meals for your children.

4. Myth: I should not send my children to a summer meals site because we’re doing better than some other families and I don’t want to take a meal away from someone who needs it more.

Fact: Sponsors prepare and distribute meals based on the number of children and teens that come to their sites. They are reimbursed by USDA for these meals, so if there is an increase in attendance at the site, the sponsors can plan to provide more meals the next day.

5. Myth: I have to submit income information, legal status, or other personal information about my family, in order for my child to be welcomed to a summer meals site.

Fact: Summer Meal Program ‘open sites’ are open to the community. Parents are not required to give any personal information about their children to site operators in order for the child to receive a free meal.


Find food in your area

This Resource Directory contains organizations that are part of the National Hunger Clearinghouse and WhyHunger’s Grassroots Action Network.

The Resource Directory connects you to community-based organizations and government programs throughout the United States that are addressing hunger and poverty issues.

H.O. Steele Education Center serves lunch

Tues-Wed-Thurs from June 24th – July 17th

H.O. Steele Education Center is located at 10260 S Sheridan Rd, Fenwick, MI  48834

Free lunches for youth 18 and under, from 11:30AM-12:30PM.  There is also a free snack for youth 18 and under from 2:00PM-2:15PM.

For more information contact Pam at or call 616-225-7254.

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