Where to Find Free Meals for Children this Summer

With school out and kids at home, where can you find nutritious meals now that school lunches are unavailable?

By Ashley Guidry, Communications Associate

Summer is officially here! While some children may be thrilled to be out of school, others face the challenge of finding enough to eat. Texas has one of the highest rates of hunger in the nation with more than 3 million children relying on school lunch as their main meal of the day.

The Houston Food Bank (HFB) reported counties rate of food insecurity was 15.4% in 2022. Meal costs have also risen. Disturbingly, one in four Black individuals in the Houston region are food insecure compared to one in 10 White people. Barriers such as unemployment and poverty worsen these issues, limiting certain communities from accessing the food they need.

Fortunately, several schools and organizations in the Houston area offer summer meals!  These programs provide breakfast and/or lunch to individuals 18 years old or younger, regardless of school enrollment. Some programs also offer low-cost meals for adults.

The Houston Food Bank’s Kids Café program partners with local organizations to provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks to children in need. No application is required, and the program runs until August 9th. Children 18 and under, as well as enrolled students with disabilities up to 21 years old, can participate.

Legacy also partners with the Houston Food Bank, and Legacy’s Health Connect programs assist patients with locating and navigating food, housing, transportation, financial assistance, and employment services.

In addition to the Houston Food Bank’s initiatives, several school districts are stepping up to ensure that children receive nutritious meals during the summer. Here are a few school districts providing meals this summer:

Cy-Fair ISD

Cy-Fair Nutrition Services offers healthy breakfasts and lunches at no cost for children 18 and younger and enrolled students with disabilities up to 21 years old. Open to the public.

Fort Bend ISD

Meals are available at 20 elementary schools, one middle school and three high schools. Campus times vary.

Houston ISD

Children aged one to 18 are eligible. No summer school enrollment, paperwork, registration or proof of income is required.

Includes both breakfast and lunch. Transportation is available only for summer school students. Open to the public.

Spring Branch ISD

Open to the community in north Houston. No cost for kids 18 and younger and enrolled students with disabilities up to 21 years old.

Free on-site meals Monday through Thursday for breakfast and lunch. The program runs until July 18.

Deer Park ISD

DPISD will offer free meals to all children ages 18 and younger and enrolled students with disabilities up to 21 years old as part of its Summer Food Service Program. No enrollment or registration required.

Adults can also participate for a fee. The cost for an adult breakfast is $3.25 and a lunch is $5.

Other school districts offering summer meal programs:

Note that these districts do not provide transportation and meals must be eaten on school property. Find the closest school based on your zip code.

Houston Parks and Recreation Department has its Summer Food Service program which provides free meals to children 18 and under. From June to August, free breakfast and lunch are available Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at qualifying locations. Meals are served on a first-come, first-served basis and must be consumed on-site.

National organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club also offer summer meal assistance at select locations.

Legacy is dedicated to supporting not only our patients but also the wider community. Share these resources with friends and family. Keep your kids healthy and fed this summer!