Free lunches for Chicago kids in need offered at 96 locations this summer

CHICAGO — The end of the school year doesn’t have to mean the end of school lunches for Chicago’s children in need.

Starting Monday, the Chicago Public Schools LunchStop summer meal program will provide free lunch to children ages 1-18 at 96 outdoor community sites throughout Chicago. Children do not have to be CPS students to receive a free lunch.

These summer meals are funded through the Summer Food Service Program sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. Last year, LunchStop served approximately 95,000 meals at 50 locations throughout the city.

LunchStop locations operate from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at locations across the city.

To find a location, parents can go to CPS.edu/SummerMealsMap, call the Illinois Hunger Hotline at (800) 359-2163, or text FOODIL to 877877. The program runs now through Aug. 26.

Officials say only 14 percent of kids who receive meals through the national school lunch programs continue getting them through the summer.