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HRDC kicks off Kids Summer Lunch Program, offering free healthy lunches

Last summer, the HRDC served 34,000 meals in 11 weeks. that’s an average of between 500 and 600 meals a day
Posted at 1:36 PM, Jun 11, 2024

BOZEMAN — Volunteers at the HRDC marketplace are working hard, cooking, and packing up free lunches for kids and teens to enjoy this summer.

They believe although school is out, no child should go without a nutritious meal.

“It’s important to provide families that have a stricter food budget with an opportunity to have a meal that is nutrient-dense, reliable, and free,” said HRDC’s Childhood nutrition coordinator, Olivia Smart.

Smart is the heart of the free summer lunch program.

“It’s a program that provides free and nutritious meals to kiddos all around Bozeman throughout the entire summer,” said Smart, explaining the program.

For 20 years the HRDC has organized its summer lunch program for kids up to 18 years old.

“In the beginning, it was a pretty small program,” said Smart.

But Smart says that’s not the case today.

Last summer, the HRDC served 34,000 meals in 11 weeks. that’s an average of between 500 and 600 meals a day.

“I think that speaks to the need in Bozeman and surrounding areas,” said Smart.

Smart says that every day school is not in session, a family incurs an extra $300 for a child who’s not receiving a school meal.

So, if you have 3 kids, your food bill could increase by $900 in June.

“Over the course of 3 months for summer, that’s a huge cost,” said Smart.

There are 5 sites in Bozeman where you can pick up a free lunch from noon to 1, Monday through Friday until August 25th.

“You can find us at Walton Homestead Park, Story Mill Park, Hyalite Elementary, Irving Elementary, and the MSU Community House,” said Smart.

For more details on the kid’s summer lunch program click here.