SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Hunger doesn’t end just because the school year comes to a close. And this summer, with rising inflation and gas prices, more families are struggling to put food on the table.

Now through July 29th, anyone under the age of 18 can stop by nine different school sites in Sioux Falls for free breakfast and lunch.

“We’re actually up with more sites right now than we have in years past, in years past it’s been about six sites or so,” child nutrition coordinator, Gay Anderson said.

Pre-pandemic, Anderson says they served about 7,300 per month during the summer, and during the pandemic, that number increased to 22,000 meals per month.

She expects that number to stay about the same for this summer.

“We’re planning for that and we’re able to plan for more if those numbers do increase, we watch those numbers on a daily basis, project that, and see if we need to bump the numbers at this location or whatever it might be, so families don’t have to worry about if we’re going to run out of food or not,” Anderson said.

Rising costs have also had an impact on the food budget over the last year.

“We are expecting our food costs to go up some more this coming school year and so that’s going to make a difference on what the school lunch prices will be in the coming year,” Anderson said.

Meaning school lunch prices will most likely go up.

Anderson encourages families to utilize the summer meal program to offer some relief.

“Talking about going into the next school year, we already know families will have to pay for their meals, where they’ve had a wonderful blessing the last couple of years by not having to pay for meals during that period of time, so take advantage of it while you can right now so we can help you out and start planning for next year so you can start budgeting for those meals,” Anderson said.

Something different this year for the summer program, all meals must be eaten on site. For a list of locations and menus, click here.