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New Summer Grocery and Meal Resources for Seattle Families 

Free Summer Meals Celebration in Beacon Hill, July 12 
New food benefits are coming to Seattle families! 

Free summer meals celebration from 11 AM to 2 PM on Friday 7/12/2024 at Jefferson Park, 3801 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, with free food and activities for the whole family

Since the 1960s, children and youth have been eligible to get free nutritious meals during the summer, when they’re out of school. Seattle Human Services administers the Summer Food Service Program at 60 sites across Seattle. A program celebration is planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, July 12, at Jefferson Park (3801 Beacon Ave S, Seattle). 

Starting this summer, families can also receive $120 in groceries for each eligible child through a new benefit called SUN Bucks. This benefit  can be used at grocery stores and farmers markets that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. 

For families who rely on school lunches, summer can be a vulnerable time. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, additional benefits called Pandemic EBT were a lifeline for many families. When those benefits ended, it created a gap. Fortunately, SUN Bucks will help fill that gap. 

“This is a great opportunity for communities who offer both SUN Bucks and summer meals,” says Temesgen Melashu, program coordinator for HSD’s Summer Food Service Program. “The combination of groceries and meals work together to increase food security.” 

The City of Seattle offers summer meals from July1–August 23 for children and youth aged 1 to 18 at over 60 parks, community centers, and other sites in Seattle neighborhoods. This year, the program expects to provide more than 100,000 meals and almost as many snacks. Visit our website for more information and a list of locations. 

Families already receiving free or reduced-price school meals are automatically eligible for SUN Bucks. For helpful information on eligibility and how to sign up, read “SUN Bucks: How to Get Nutritious Meals for Your Child This Summer” (Public Health Insider) or visit the DSHS website

“We’re proud to have offered nutritious summer meals for over 50 years,” says Dr. Shukri Olow, HSD Youth & Family Empowerment division director. “But even one or two meals a day may not fully address food insecurity. SUN Bucks helps strengthen the family safety net.” 

Improving childhood food security is a priority for Seattle and communities across the country. In 2023, Mayor Harrell joined the new Mayors Alliance to End Childhood Hunger, which “harnesses the individual and collective leadership of mayors to end childhood hunger in communities nationwide.” 

For more information about additional food resources for children, youth, and families, visit Human Services—Food Resources. To access local nutrition programs for older adults, call Community Living Connections at (toll-free) 844-348-5464. 

— Sean Walsh, Strategic Advisor, HSD Youth and Family Empowerment Division