The Summer Food Program

Open kitchen

The return of children to school last month marked the end of the Summer Food Service Program for this year. Funded by the Illinois State Board of Education, the program extends the anti-hunger programming offered in the public schools through the summer months. Over a 47 day period, an army of volunteers serve breakfast and lunch to children throughout the Chicago Housing Authority. At its height in the mid-1990’s, the program budget was $7 million. There were 224 sites at which 1,500 volunteers daily served 18,000 breakfasts and 27,000 – 30,000 lunches. As the dismantling of Chicago public housing has advanced in recent years, the scope of the program has diminished. Yet it remains an extraordinary administrative and logistical achievement: a glimpse of what is possible, when resources are made available for residents to provide services to their neighbors. Take a look.

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