Shawnee Mission School District will again provide free summer meals for all kids — what you need to know

The Shawnee Mission School District is bringing back its free summer meal program — funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — on June 3. Meals can be picked up at four school locations on Monday and Thursday mornings. File photo of a Shawnee Mission parent picking up a meal at Comanche Elementary.

After seeing unprecedented need last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shawnee Mission School District is once again preparing to bring back its free summer meal program in 2021.

Why it matters: The district is still anticipating higher-than-average demand for free summer meals as many families in the area still struggle with food insecurity and economic hardship during the ongoing pandemic.

Last summer, SMSD’s free summer meals program provided more than 300,000 meals to children at the height of the pandemic, a roughly 1000% increase from the year before.

Any child qualifies: This summer, Shawnee Mission plans to restart the program on June 3, according to the district website.

Any child between the ages of 1 and 18 qualifies to pick up meals, even if they are not a SMSD student.

“Hunger does not take a vacation in the summertime in the Shawnee Mission School District,” the district’s website reads.

The free program will be funded entirely by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of its summer meals program.

The details: Children will be able to receive pick-up-and-go meals at the following locations, starting June 3:

  • Comanche Elementary, 8200 Grant Street
  • East Antioch Elementary, 7342 Lowell Street
  • Rosehill Elementary, 9801 Rosehill Road
  • Shawanoe Elementary, 11230 W. 75th Street

Shawnee Mission will host the program from June 3 to July 29, though no pick-up will be available July 5 due to Independence Day.

Pick-up times will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, when three days’ worth of meals will be given out. And then on Thursdays, four days’ worth of meals will be distributed.

What you get: A hot lunch entree will be provided on the day of pick-up and no advance ordering is needed.

Breakfasts will contain a fruit, a grain and milk while lunches will include a protein, a fruit or vegetable, a grain and milk.

Children must be present to receive meals, and adults accompanying children can pick up meals for each child needed without having to exit their vehicle.

The district asks those who pick up meals to wear masks and remain socially distanced.