Skip to main content

When school lets out, the Summer Food Service Program steps in

May 22, 2017 11:51AM, Published by Today's Family, Categories: Health




By Mary Flenner

Summer should be a carefree time for kids. One filled with trips to the pool, kickball, bike rides and freeze tag.  Their only worry should be figuring out how to out-splash their friend's cannonball or wondering when the ice cream truck will make its next appearance. 

Yet, sadly, one in four children in Cleveland won't know where their next meal is coming from this summer.

While many children receive food assistance during the school year, many don't realize that these children can be left hungry come summer months.

That's where the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's  Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) comes in. 

School meals can sometimes be a student's only source of nutrition for the day, so when the school year is over, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank helps to ensure that kids who receive those meals don't go hungry come summertime.

In 2016, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank served 64,000 kids throughout the year, including their BackPacks for Kids program, which discreetly sends food home with children to sustain them over the weekend.

"Cleveland is one of the worst cities in the country when it comes to childhood hunger," says Karen Pozna, director of communication and events at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.  The need isn't isolated to one area, or even just lower-income neighborhoods.  Hunger is everywhere.

"Since the recession, we’ve seen the need increase farther into the suburbs," says Pozna.

The  Summer Food Service Program delivers meals to predetermined locations, offering fun activities to encourage kids to visit and enjoy the meals on-site.  Feeding locations include libraries, boys and girls clubs, and the Salvation Army.

The GCFB offers 111 summer feeding sites throughout their service territory, where children up to age 18 can come and enjoy a meal during summer months.  Many locations are in Cuyahoga County, but assistance can also be found throughout Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties.

While many think of the Food Bank during the holidays, the summer months are equally as busy, especially because it lasts longer and there are so many sites provided.

"Most people don’t think about the fact that children are missing out on these meals.  Therefore, many don’t know where to go for a free meal.  So we're trying to get the word out that we offer the  Summer Food Service Program and a place to go get a well-balanced meal," Pozna stresses.

The program can provide up to 7,000 meals per day, so volunteers and donations are very important during this time.  Just $1 can provide four nutritious meals, and beginning in the month of June, donations will be matched by their generous sponsors.

If you can't make a monetary donation, consider a food donation.  Most requested items include peanut butter, tuna fish, canned beef stew, canned soup, and cereal. 

Volunteering time to prepare and serve meals is also a great way to give back.  The Food Bank hosts family nights (for children 12 and up), which offer a great opportunity to give back together.  Not only is it a unique way to bond as a family, but it sets a great example and teaches kids about helping others and gives an appreciation for all they have. 

"The kids that attend get so excited about all the different meals.  It's always nice to see the smile on their faces when they see everything we have. It really has an impact.  Hundreds of kids look forward to it.  The Summer Food Service Program provides a safe environment with exciting activities to help draw the kids.  And of course, we try to sneak in as many veggies as we can," Pozna says with a smile.

The Summer Food Service Program runs from June 5 – August 11.  To donate or learn more about volunteering, visit them online at www.GreaterClevelandFoodBank.org.

If you would like more information on summer feeding locations or are in need of food assistance, call the Food Bank at 216-738-2067.




  • KidsDays at the Zoo

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Summer break is here. This year, KidsDays will feature Thriller BMX demonstrations, a mobile vid...


  • Touch a Truck

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Various service vehicles from the City of Euclid will be on hand in the parking lot for children ...


  • Waterloo Arts Fest

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 07:00PM

    Music, performance art, street art, art vendors and more.


  • Mayfield Heights Community Unity Days

    06/24/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Live music, bocce tournament, rides, inflatables, Saturday night fireworks and Sunday parade! ...


  • Teens can make, create and innovate at the Lake Branch Creation Station. This four-part series wi...


  • Mentor Untapped & Uncorked

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Find a sitter and enjoy a casual evening sampling the best beers and wines that Ohio has to offer...


  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival

    06/24/2017
    05:00PM — 12:00AM

    Great food, fun and live entertainment!


  • May I Pet Your Dog?

    06/26/2017
    06:30PM

    David Sachs will teach your family about proper dog interaction and how to avoid negative experie...


  • Music at the Manor at Wildwood will take place Wednesday evenings in June starting at 6 p.m. Enj...


  • Wade Oval Wednesdays

    06/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a FREE concert, food trucks, vendors, theme nights, and activities vary each week and are a...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Ronald McDonald Magic Show

    06/30/2017
    02:00PM — 03:00PM

    Join in for a fun, family-friendly magic show with Ronald McDonald! Enjoy silly jokes, slight-of-...


  • Euclid Farmers' Market

    06/30/2017
    03:00PM — 06:30PM

    Market features locally grown and organic produce, baked goods, bedding plants, herbs, candles an...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    06/30/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Concerts and more at the Glen

    06/30/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the show. Snacks and beverages are ...


  • KidsDays at the Zoo

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Summer break is here. This year, KidsDays will feature Thriller BMX demonstrations, a mobile vid...


  • Touch a Truck

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Various service vehicles from the City of Euclid will be on hand in the parking lot for children ...


  • Waterloo Arts Fest

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 07:00PM

    Music, performance art, street art, art vendors and more.


  • Mayfield Heights Community Unity Days

    06/24/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Live music, bocce tournament, rides, inflatables, Saturday night fireworks and Sunday parade! ...


  • Teens can make, create and innovate at the Lake Branch Creation Station. This four-part series wi...


  • Mentor Untapped & Uncorked

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Find a sitter and enjoy a casual evening sampling the best beers and wines that Ohio has to offer...


  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival

    06/24/2017
    05:00PM — 12:00AM

    Great food, fun and live entertainment!


  • KidsDays at the Zoo

    06/25/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Summer break is here. This year, KidsDays will feature Thriller BMX demonstrations, a mobile vid...


  • Mayfield Heights Community Unity Days

    06/25/2017
    01:00PM — 07:00PM

    Live music, bocce tournament, rides, inflatables, Saturday night fireworks and Sunday parade! ...


  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival

    06/25/2017
    01:00PM — 10:00PM

    Great food, fun and live entertainment!


  • May I Pet Your Dog?

    06/26/2017
    06:30PM

    David Sachs will teach your family about proper dog interaction and how to avoid negative experie...


  • Sounds of Summer Garden Concert Series

    06/27/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Tuesdays, June 20–August 15 (excluding July 4) Bring a picnic and listen to local bands while ...


  • Wade Oval Wednesdays

    06/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a FREE concert, food trucks, vendors, theme nights, and activities vary each week and are a...


  • Music at the Manor at Wildwood will take place Wednesday evenings in June starting at 6 p.m. Enj...


  • Ronald McDonald Magic Show

    06/30/2017
    02:00PM — 03:00PM

    Join in for a fun, family-friendly magic show with Ronald McDonald! Enjoy silly jokes, slight-of-...


  • Euclid Farmers' Market

    06/30/2017
    03:00PM — 06:30PM

    Market features locally grown and organic produce, baked goods, bedding plants, herbs, candles an...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    06/30/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Concerts and more at the Glen

    06/30/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the show. Snacks and beverages are ...


  • 11th Annual Larchmere Festival

    07/01/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This unique festival features aspects that you won't find at any other festival in town - like an...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    07/01/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    07/02/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    07/03/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Fairport Mardi Gras

    07/04/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    Featuring an annual parade, live music, grand prize drawing, rides, Senior Citizen Day, Kids Day,...


  • Wade Oval Wednesdays

    07/05/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a FREE concert, food trucks, vendors, theme nights, and activities vary each week and are a...


  • Tall Ships Fairport Harbor 2017

    07/06/2017
    04:00PM — 08:00PM

    A rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of...


  • Tall Ships Fairport Harbor 2017

    07/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of...


  • Cain Park Arts Festival

    07/07/2017
    03:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Cain Park Arts Festival is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event, featuring the work of up...


  • Euclid Farmers' Market

    07/07/2017
    03:00PM — 06:30PM

    Market features locally grown and organic produce, baked goods, bedding plants, herbs, candles an...


  • Farmfest 2017: Ribs, Brew & Music

    07/07/2017
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    This year's event has been expanded and will feature more live music, kids' activities, craft ven...


  • St. Mary Chardon Festival

    07/07/2017
    05:00PM — 12:00AM

    Trolley ride to the midway, rides, games, concession, homemade food, beer truck, live music, fire...


  • Concerts and more at the Glen

    07/07/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the show. Snacks and beverages are ...


  • Farmfest 2017: Ribs, Brew & Music

    07/08/2017
    09:00AM — 09:00PM

    This year's event has been expanded and will feature more live music, kids' activities, craft ven...


  • Tall Ships Fairport Harbor 2017

    07/08/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of...


  • Cain Park Arts Festival

    07/08/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The Cain Park Arts Festival is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event, featuring the work of up...


  • Cain Park Arts Festival

    07/08/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The Cain Park Arts Festival is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event, featuring the work of up...


  • Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival

    07/08/2017
    10:00AM — 07:00PM

    Enjoy local musicians playing their banjos, guitars, and fiddles. Guests are welcome to stop and ...


  • St. Mary Chardon Festival

    07/08/2017
    05:00PM — 12:00AM

    Trolley ride to the midway, rides, games, concession, homemade food, beer truck, live music, fire...


  • Tall Ships Fairport Harbor 2017

    07/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of...


  • Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival

    07/09/2017
    10:00AM — 07:00PM

    Enjoy local musicians playing their banjos, guitars, and fiddles. Guests are welcome to stop and ...


  • Cain Park Arts Festival

    07/09/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    The Cain Park Arts Festival is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event, featuring the work of up...


  • St. Mary Chardon Festival

    07/09/2017
    01:00PM — 10:00PM

    Trolley ride to the midway, rides, games, concession, homemade food, beer truck, live music, fire...


  • Sounds of Summer Garden Concert Series

    07/11/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Tuesdays, June 20–August 15 (excluding July 4) Bring a picnic and listen to local bands while ...


  • Little Legacy

    07/12/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    Featuring crafts, games and entertainment geared to children pre-K and older. This summer’s L...


  • Wade Oval Wednesdays

    07/12/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a FREE concert, food trucks, vendors, theme nights, and activities vary each week and are a...


  • St. John Vianney Parish Summer Festival

    07/13/2017
    06:00PM — 10:00PM

    Food pavilion, duck races, game midway, grand prize car raffle, polka mass Sunday at noon, instan...


  • Concerts and more at the Glen

    07/13/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the show. Snacks and beverages are ...


  • Euclid Farmers' Market

    07/14/2017
    03:00PM — 06:30PM

    Market features locally grown and organic produce, baked goods, bedding plants, herbs, candles an...


  • St. John Vianney Parish Summer Festival

    07/14/2017
    06:00PM — 11:30PM

    Food pavilion, duck races, game midway, grand prize car raffle, polka mass Sunday at noon, instan...


  • Ice Cream Weekends

    07/15/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Try your hand at making ice cream and meet the dairy cows that produce milk and cream. Find out w...


  • 26th Annual Willoughby ArtsFest

    07/15/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    A great opportunity for visitors to see and purchase a wide range of juried art and also enjoy, m...


  • St. John Vianney Parish Summer Festival

    07/15/2017
    04:00PM — 11:30PM

    Food pavilion, duck races, game midway, grand prize car raffle, polka mass Sunday at noon, instan...


  • Woodland Twilight Benefit

    07/15/2017
    06:00PM — 10:30PM

    Enjoy a captivating evening with enticing cocktails, delectable cuisine and live music at the Hol...