Over 30 campuses in Austin ISD will serve free meals during the summer break to children under age 18 and students with disabilities up to age 21 in need of food.

Children do not have to be enrolled in AISD to receive the free meals. Meals will be served inside the school cafeterias at designated times. The district will be closed July 1-5 and will not offer free meals that week.

The overview

The nutrition program—the Summer Food Service Program—is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

During the school year, many students rely on access to consistent meals through free or reduced-price lunches. In AISD, 37% of students are eligible for free lunch during the academic year, according to the Texas Education Agency. For these students, summer vacation may mean uncertainty when it comes to accessing food.

“Austin children need good nutrition year-round so they can learn, grow and succeed in life,” said Ryan Mikolaycik, ASID executive director of food service and warehouse operations. “With nearly 2 million food-insecure children living in Texas, these healthy meals are vital to nourishing young Texans during the summer vacation.”

Also of note

Families in Texas won’t benefit from a new program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this summer. The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program would provide $40 per eligible child monthly to help with the cost of food during summer break, but Texas is one of 15 states that didn't implement the program for this year.

The Summer EBT program would supplement the existing Summer Food Service Program by supporting families when they are unable to travel to designated sites for meals.

Only 4.6% of students who participated in free or reduced-price lunch programs during the 2021-22 school year in Texas benefited from the summer food service, according to a 2023 report on summer nutrition by nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.

“[Summer EBT is] a particularly appealing option for Texas because the traditional summer feeding program hasn't worked very well,” said Celia Cole, CEO of nonprofit Feeding Texas.

Going forward

Families can use the following to find a meal site anywhere in Texas this summer: