Where to find free summer meals for Southwest Florida children

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Southwest Florida children will still be able to get free summer meals from schools but will no longer be able to take them off-campus.
Children eating a free meal at a Southwest Florida school. Credit: WINK News

Children in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties will still be able to get free food from schools this summer, but they will no longer be able to take the food off-campus as they could for the last two years.

Leaders in Lee County will be offering food to children at 85 locations this summer, including community centers, parks, schools and churches. In Charlotte County, there are five brick-and-mortar locations where children can get food until July 29. They also have a mobile bus that will run during that time and bring food to three locations in the county. Children under 18 accompanied by a parent can get free food.

“Last year, we served breakfast, lunches and snacks… we served around 120,000 last summer,” said Amy Carroll, coordinator of special projects and student wellness for the School District of Lee County. “We’re expecting that to potentially double this year, because you have to remember last year that many camps were closed down, there were so many COVID[-19] restrictions that it was very, very limited. Where this year, it’s pretty much back to normal, like it was summer of 2019.”

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