PROMO Food - School Breakfast Lunch Menu - iStock - FotoDuets

Summer meals for kids available to-go and by delivery in remote rural areas

© iStock - FotoDuets
Eric Galatas

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(Colorado News Connection) With school cafeterias closed for the summer, community groups and nonprofits are working to ensure that Colorado's one in five children who go without food because their family can't afford groceries can still get nutritious meals.

Kristen Collins, executive director of Colorado Food Cluster, said because rural families have longer distances to travel for in-person summer meal sites, her group is now delivering boxes of food directly to homes.

Cooking - Home Food Fish Vegetable Fruit Meat - iStock - TanyaLovus

© iStock - TanyaLovus

"The box includes seven days worth of breakfast, and seven days worth of lunch," she explained. "All of those meals are shelf-stable, so you'll get tuna packets, chicken salad packets, Goldfish, juices."

Collins said she expects to serve meals to 1,800 low income kids across 20 rural counties this year. Last year, Congress exempted rural areas from rules that require summer meals to be eaten at a specific site, and there are now "to go" options available outside metro areas as well.

To find a summer meal, visit, or text the word "Food" or "Comida" to 304-304.

Participating community recreation centers, libraries, churches and other sites across the state are also serving free breakfast, lunch, snacks and supper to Colorado youths all summer long.

Justice Onwordi, impact director with Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, said anyone 18 and younger can share a meal with friends.

"You don't have to be enrolled in any school, you don't have to be enrolled in any type of federal or state programs. It's for anyone and everyone, and you don't even need a proof of ID or anything like that. You can just show up to a site," said Onwordi.

All locations are required to meet federal nutrition guidelines. Many offer fun activities for kids and teens designed to exercise both minds and bodies, to help make sure kids are healthy and ready to learn when they head back to school in the fall.