Summer's a lot less fun on an empty stomach.
According to the charity Feeding America, about 17.3 percent of children in Callaway County — nearly one in five — face food insecurity. That mens they don't have consistent access to enough affordable, nutritious food. About 57 percent are income-eligible for nutrition programs, such as free or reduced meals at school.
Luckily, there are many places and programs throughout the county where families and children can find free food during the summer. Here's a collection of them, sorted by location. Note: this list may not be comprehensive.
USDA Summer Food Rocks: Free food for children ages 18 and younger with no enrollment. Breakfast and lunch will be served weekdays May 28 through June 28 at Auxvasse Elementary School, 650 E. Harrison St. Breakfast will be available 7:30-8 a.m. and lunch 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. Contact either Auxvasse Elementary at 573-386-2217 or Central Office at 573-386-2214 for more information regarding this program.
USDA Summer Food Rocks: Free food for children ages 18 and younger with no enrollment. Meal sites for Fulton include McIntire Elementary School, 706 Hickman Ave. and Fulton High School, 1 Hornet Drive, where meals will be served weekdays from June 3-28. Breakfast is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is 11:30 a.m.-noon. At the YMCA, 1715 Wood St., lunch is available Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:15 a.m.-noon in June, then weekdays 11:15 a.m.-noon in July.
From His House to Your House: This free store in Fulton, 300 Pioneer St., isn't a formal food pantry, but often has a table with donated food available. It's open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.
Fulton Soup Kitchen: Now that school's out for the summer, the soup kitchen, 214 E. Fourth St., is offering lunch and dinner. Lunch is 11:30 a.m. to around 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Supper is served 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
SERVE Food Pantry: The Food Pantry program, 4901 County Road 304, provides fresh produce, canned and dry goods, as well as frozen foods and meats to clients once a month based on availability. Other items may also be available. Clients must provide ID each month and proof of address every six months. Visit serveinc.net/programs/outreach/#food_pantry to learn more.
Court Street United Methodist Church, 719 Court St.: The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri's mobile food pantry makes a stop here on the third Friday of each month, from 2-4 p.m. To receive food, bring the following to register: a photo ID, proof of address and a Social Security card for each household member. Don't forget a box, basket or bag to carry your food.
Holts Summit Food Pantry: Housed at Union Hill Baptist Church, 460 S. Summit Drive, the Holts Summit Ministerial Alliance provides a food pantry in the church's fellowship hall Tuesdays and the first, third and fourth Thursdays of each month from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Holts Summit Soup Kitchen: This soup kitchen offers community meals twice a week at Holts Summit's Civic Center, 282 S. Greenway. Meals are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. For more information, call (573) 301-8181 or (573) 291-8877; or email HoltsSummitSoupKitchen@gmail.com. Meals are open to all.
USDA Summer Food Rocks: Free food for children ages 18 and younger with no enrollment. Locations for Holts Summit include North Elementary School, 285 S. Summit Drive and Callaway Hills Elementary, 2715 Route AA, from May 28 to June 20, serving breakfast at 7:30-8:30 a.m. and lunch, 11 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday.
USDA Summer Food Rocks: Free food for children ages 18 and younger with no enrollment. Breakfast and lunch will be served weekdays May 28 through June 28 at the T-Bird Learning Center. Breakfast is 8-8:30 a.m. and lunch is 11:15 a.m.-noon. Contact Auxvasse Elementary at 573-386-2217 or Central Office at 573-386-2214 for more information regarding this program.