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PHOENIX -- If it weren't for programs like the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, needy valley children would not have access to nutritious meals during their summer vacation.

The program is administered by the Arizona Department of Education and every year feeds millions of meals to hungry kids across the state.

"In 2012, Arizona served over 3.3 million meals in the Summer Feeding Program," said Mary Szafranski, deputy associate superintendent of health and nutrition services for the department of education. "That represents that there are a lot of children needing that food."

According to the Department of Education, the Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children, 18 and younger, continue to have an opportunity to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet federal nutrition guidlines, are provided to all children at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.

"They just go up and get their meal," said Szafranski.

Currently, the Arizona Department of Education is looking for SFSP sponsors. To learn more, visit

If you need to find out where your child can have access to free meals anywhere in the state, visit Follow the link to food site locations and enter your zip code.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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