RELEASE: New Mobile App Connects Families and Students with Free Summer Meals

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department of education

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Bisek


June 29, 2018

Previous Announcements

New Mobile App Connects Families and Students with Free Summer Meals

USDA summer meals program provides nutritious, free meals across Minnesota

ROSEVILLE, MN –  A new mobile application launched statewide this year to help students and families find free summer meals. The app, called Summer Eats Minnesota, is powered by GPS to show locations of summer food sites, their menus, and days and hours of operation. The app, created in partnership between the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Hunger Impact Partners, is free in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

“For some students, the free meals they get in school are the most nutritious meals they can count on,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “To help close the nutrition gap, students need access to healthy meals over the summer so they come back in September ready to learn. Many organizations, partners and communities are coming together to expand the number of meals available over the summer, and their innovative efforts will help more students have healthy meals after the last bell rings. The new statewide mobile app is a great example of how we can work together to help students get what they need to succeed, even when school is out.”

Summer meals are available across Minnesota through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children ages 18 and under with nutritious meals when school is out. The Minnesota Department of Education is working with schools, nonprofits, cities, colleges and faith-based communities to increase awareness of the free meals. Over 200 organizations have signed up to provide children with free, healthy meals at eligible locations this summer.

In 2017, more than three million meals were served to Minnesota children through the Summer Food Service Program, yet efforts reached only about 18 percent of children in need. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Minnesota Department of Education.

There are many additional resources available to find a meal site over the summer:  

  • Enter your address in the new Summer Meal Site Locator tool released by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
  • Call the 2-1-1 Hotline, or, from your mobile phone in the Twin Cities metro area, call 651-291-0211. In greater Minnesota, call 1-800-543-7709, or TTY at 651-291-8440.
  • Call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479, or, in Spanish at 1-877-842-6273.
  • View the SFSP Participation Report to find a list of all sites. 
  • Download the Summer Eats Minnesota app on your phone to search for sites in your area. 
  • Text "food" to 877-877.

To learn more, please visit the Summer Food Service Program website or contact MDE Food and Nutrition Services (, or call at 651-582-8526 or 1-800-366-8922 (toll-free)

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. View USDA’s nondiscrimination statement.