Summer Meals for Kids
Children who receive free and reduced price lunches at school often lack access to food during the summer. Once the school year ends, our Lunch Bus routes begin and summer meal sites open. This program aims to reach children in convenient neighborhood sites such as libraries, parks and community centers, ensuring their access to nutritious food.
Since 2004 the Greater Chicago Food Depository has been distributing nutritious meals during the summer months to anyone under 18 years old in priority communities in Cook County. In summer 2017, the Food Depository distributed more than 560,000 meals in partnership with 257 summer feeding sites.
Applications are now available for summer feeding sites. Apply online to host a summer meal program.
The Lunch Bus
As a part of our summer response to connect kids to nutritious meals, the Greater Chicago Food Depository launched a mobile summer meal program in June 2010. We distribute free nutritious lunches to anyone 18 years old and under in priority communities in Cook County during the summer months.
- The Lunch Bus travels to 24 sites on four routes throughout Chicago and the suburbs every summer weekday.
- The Lunch Bus serves approximately 4,000 meals every week.
- In summer 2017, the Lunch Bus distributed a total of 37,868 meals.
- Lunch Bus meals are reimbursed by the Summer Food Service Program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In addition to Lunch Bus sites, summer meal programs operate in locations throughout Cook County. Find summer meal sites using the USDA’s map. This map displays all approved summer meals sites from all sponsors.