Summer can be a real challenge for parents, right? It feels like kids never stop eating! Just yesterday, we were driving back from Florida and decided to treat ourselves with a stop at McDonald's (a rare indulgence at our house). They had this deal—$5 for a meal with a double-patty burger, fries, four chicken nuggets, and a drink. My 11-year-old finished her entire meal. As for me, I only managed to eat half of my burger and a few fries. But wouldn't you know it, about 30 minutes later, she polished off the rest of my meal. And then, less than two hours after she ate, she was already saying she was hungry again!

Now before you get concerned about my daughter, she's at a healthy weight. She's just growing - three inches in the past six months - and without the structure of the school day, her internal "I'm hungry" clock is just going haywire. Plus, she seldom gets fast food so she takes advantage of her opportunities. Pretty much all parents know about the "summer snack cycle." They want a snack and then 15 minutes later, they are complaining that they need another snack.

We are very blessed that we can provide all meals for her but many parents can't regularly feed their children or need help with providing nutritious meals so that there's enough money for other necessities.

How Many Kids Struggle with Food Insecurity in the US?

Many families struggle with food insecurity. In fact, about 3 million kids rely on lunch programs and 1.8 million count on breakfast programs during the school year. Around half of all students in Indiana and Kentucky rely on the free lunch program.

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SUN Meals for Kids

To help families, the USDA offers SUN Meals - summer meal assistance. It’s great for families who need help with summer meals. And here’s the best part—it’s not just for families already receiving free or reduced lunch. Any kid 18 or under can get meals.

In Warrick County, you have the option to eat on-site or take home meal kits that include breakfast and lunch for five days, which is really convenient.

To get these meals, a parent or guardian just needs to sign up the student each week. They mentioned there’s a limit on how many meal kits they can give out, but surprisingly, last week they had extra meals because not everyone picked theirs up.

READ MORE: Does Your Family Qualify for the USDA $120 Sun Bucks to Help with Groceries?

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Warrick Co. School Corp Asking Parents to Pick Up Meal Kits

Warrick County School Corp posted this to Facebook last week. 

This is a friendly reminder that if you sign-up to pick up meal kits for your family, it is important that you make every effort to pick them up. If you know you cannot pick up the meals, please call the F&N Dept at 812-897-1341 as soon as possible so we can give those meals to a family on our waitlist. (Please note, we are not in the office on Wednesdays due to meal distribution.) Over the last few weeks, we have had over 7,500 meals that were not picked up.
June 26th- 1,770 meals unclaimed
June 19th- 920 meals unclaimed
June 12th- 2,090 meals unclaimed
June 5th- 2,880 meals unclaimed
The school system can't get federal reimbursement for the meals that go unclaimed. When families don't pick up their to-go meal kits, it really hits the food and nutrition department's budget hard and could affect the program's future.

It's not just about wasting food; it's also unfair to the kids who couldn't get a meal kit because sign-ups were already maxed out.

If you don't live in Warrick Co. contact your school system or provider if you can't pick up your Sun Meals. If you live in Indiana and would like to sign up for Sun Meals, use the USDA Sun Meal Finder. 

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