This summer, communities across South Dakota will be serving free meals to children, to ensure good nutrition and growth. The USDA Summer Meals Programs works with the South Dakota Department of Education, Child and Adult Nutrition Services (CANS) office to make sure that when school lets out children are well-nourished throughout the summer. Parents are welcome to eat with their children, but in most cases, parents will have to pay for their meal.
Finding a Meal Site
In 2019 there are 73 sites in South Dakota. Like in years past, sites may serve breakfast, lunch and a snack. To find a site serving free summer meals, the USDA provides a tool that will direct you to the closest site. If you prefer, you can also text “Summer Meals” or “Verano” to 97779 or “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877. You can also call 1-866-348-6479 or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (Spanish) to find a site near you.
During the school year, a little over 106 thousand South Dakota children receive free and reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In 2018, summer meals only served about 6% of those children that received meals during the year. Summer meals are run through your local school nutrition program, or through non-profit organizations, like churches, libraries, or youth centers. If you are interested in becoming a summer meal sponsoring organization, contact the state’s CANS office to get on next summer’s contact list.
Getting to a Meal Site
Transportation can be a challenge for children whose parents work or who cannot drive them. Communities are addressing this challenge through unique partnerships and grant funding. In Rapid City, Huron, Bear Creek, Cherry Creek, the summer meals program will be mobile, bringing the meals to children! Rapid City Area Schools have a mobile summer meals food truck that will provide free summer meals to all children under the age of 18 that show up to the truck during the summer. Rapid City Area Schools are partnering with Black Hills Community Foundation and Meals on Wheels to bring mobile summer meals to children and have additional funding to allow parents or grandparents to eat with children at no cost. Lower Brule school district is bringing the children to the meal sites! They have buses pick up children and take them to the elementary school to eat breakfast and lunch. These busses run at 7:30 AM for breakfast and 11:30 AM for lunch. In Sioux Falls, students ride the public bus system for free and the Department of Health has identified the bus routes that go past the summer meals sites. These, along with other best practices, can increase children’s access to summer meals to ensure good health and nutrition in summer months.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
- Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
- Fax: 202-690-7442
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.