Free meals program renewed for summer 2014

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program has announced the availability of free meals to children during summer break.

Through the federally-funded program, Seamless Summer Option, any child under 18 may receive a free meal at any pre-approved location throughout the state. There is no income qualification or registration requirement to receive this benefit.

Georgia schools serve more than 500,000 breakfasts and roughly 1.1 million lunches daily during the school year, according to the state education department. More than 77 percent of these meals are provided at a free or reduced price through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program.

Officials said the state ranks first in both breakfast and lunch participation levels for states with more than 1 million students. Compared to all states, Georgia ranks in the top five.

School food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program are eligible to apply for the Seamless Summer Option so that meals may continue to be served to the children in their respective communities in the summer. On average, more than 2,200 locations in Georgia continue serving school meals by participating in the Seamless Summer Option.

Officials at the state education department encourage eligible school food authorities to consider providing the much-needed service. Learn more how to participate at www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/opportunity-schools.