As summer kicks off, so has a campaign to encourage families to access sites providing free meals to kids and teens ages 18 and younger. 

"Not only are the youth fed, but there's socialization going on, there's crafts, there's reading projects going on, so it's a really great way for families to know that their children are being fed and having social interaction, too," said Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa, in an interview with WHO-TV.

Watch the WHO-TV interview.

There are 50 sites providing meals in Dallas, Warren, and Polk counties from June-August.

To find a site near you:

The campaign this summer is coordinated through the OpportUNITY plan to help increase prosperity for the one-third of central Iowans who are not financially self-sufficient. Partners include the Food Bank of Iowa,
2-1-1, several school districts, YMCAs, parks, and more. 

Last summer, about 150,000 meals were served at Des Moines Public School sites and more than 1 million meals served statewide.

The meals are free and no enrollment is needed to attend. Any child or teenager is welcome to attend for a meal and to socialize. 

Learn more about OpportUNITY and the work groups moving the plan forward.

OpportUNITY Web Page

TAGS: Education, Financial Stability, Health

About The Author: Sarah Welch

Sarah Welch is a communications contractor for the Thriving Workforce initiative and is the former Strategic Communications Officer at United Way of Central Iowa.