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Summer Meals for Kids Up and Running Across Colorado

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017   

DENVER – Kids don't lose their appetites when school cafeterias close for summer, so Colorado's Summer Meal Program is stepping up, serving free meals in more than 500 locations across the state to all children up to age 18.

Amanda Suriano supervises a site in Denver's Five Points neighborhood. She says many families just don't have the financial resources to make up for lost school meals, and making sure kids have healthy food during summer break gives them the fuel they need to go back to the classroom ready to learn.

"Here at Glenarm Recreation Center, we serve lunch and snacks during the summer," she says. "We're just here to make sure that we're serving these kiddos these nutritious, flavorful meals and that they're available to them and accessible."

Colorado's Summer Food Service Program is a collaboration between government agencies, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Serving locations can be found online at kidsfoodfinder.org, or by calling Hunger Free Colorado's toll-free hotline at (855) 855-4626.

Community-based sites are offering free breakfasts, lunches, suppers and snacks that meet federal nutrition guidelines. There are no income or registration requirements; kids can just show up and eat.

Suriano says, in addition to open swimming and basketball, her program also offers instructor-led activities to help children exercise their minds and bodies.

"Paper mache, building aquariums, making home-made soaps," she adds. "It's a variety of quality programming. It's safe, fun and engaging for the kids."

Glenarm also challenges kids with a weekly riddle, and if they guess the right answer they win a prize. Last week's example: 'I'm tall when I'm young, short when I'm old, what am I? I'm a candle!'

Suriano says kids love the food, but they also appreciate the fact that there's a welcoming, safe space created just for them that they can depend on.


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