SANTA FE — Free meal programs for children are resuming at more than 700 locations statewide this summer, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care and Public Education departments announced.
The two departments work together on summer feeding programs to make sure children and youth from 1 to 18 have access to nutritious meals from June through August.
“These programs fill an important nutrition gap when school-based meal programs go offline for the summer and are an important part of our state’s fight against child hunger,” ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky said.
“Nutrition needs for growing children don’t end when schools break for the summer,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “Having summer feeding sites across New Mexico ensures students have seamless access to nutrition programs year-round.”
Summer feeding programs are available in almost every community and neighborhood across New Mexico. Each site has been mapped and listed in a searchable format at summerfoodnm.org.
More than 70 percent of New Mexico public school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, although that is not a requirement for participating in the summer programs. All children ages 1-18 (as well as those older than 18 with disabilities) can receive free meals through the summer programs.
- No prior registration or enrollment is required for participation.
- In consideration of ongoing safety concerns due to the COVID-19 health emergency, meals will be provided in a “grab-and-go” format.
- Meals at all sites meet U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional standards.
- Nearly all sites serve lunch, and many serve both breakfast and lunch
The summer feeding programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight childhood hunger in a state where 1 in 5 children face food insecurity.