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For some children, the last day of school signals the start of summer fun — long days spent playing outside, riding bikes, swimming and taking family vacations. But for others — nearly a quarter-million Arkansas children — summer often means wondering when they’ll next eat.

When school shuts down, so do the free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches.

With more than 246,000 students participating in supplemented food programs, many Arkansas low-income families are hard pressed to make up the difference in their food budgets. But there is help.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, through its Summer Meals Program, steps in to offer free summer meals to children 18 and younger at safe, supervised locations such as schools, community centers, parks, Boys & Girls Clubs, libraries, and others sponsored sites. See Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more about the program and the need.

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