Breaking News
More () »

LIST: Central Iowa school districts and organizations offering free summer meals

See which school districts are offering free breakfasts and lunches to kids this summer.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As organizations such as United Way of Central Iowa are seeing a startling increase of food insecurity, school districts are working to keep kids fed throughout the summer. 

Several school districts plan to serve breakfast and/or lunch to kids, even after the school year is over. 

Below is a list of what free meal programs in central Iowa will look like this summer. 


The Southeast Polk Community School District shared details about its summer meal meet-ups, which allow all children under 18 years old to have a free summer meal. 

The program runs daily from June 5 to Aug. 11, with a few exceptions: no food will be served on July 3, 4 and Aug. 3. All meals must be eaten on site. 

  • Altoona Elementary from 7:45 a.m.-8:45 a.m. & 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Willowbrook Elementary from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

More information on meal times, menus and guidelines are available here. 

Central Iowa Shelter and Services

Central Iowa Shelter and Services is offering free meals to children throughout the summer. They're prepared at its Community Kitchen. Any one ages 18 and under is invited  to receive free and nutritious meals. 

More information is here.

Des Moines

Des Moines Public Schools is offering free meals to those who need it at 29 locations across the city via the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Minors can grab food for free all summer long, so long as they stay on the premises to eat. 

Dates open may vary, so check the full calendar before heading out, but here are the locations and times to keep in mind for Des Moines: 

From 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.:

  • Brubaker Elementary 
  • Capitol View Elementary
  • Carver Elementary 
  • Cattell Elementary
  • Edmunds Elementary
  • Findley Elementary 
  • Greenwood Elementary
  • Hillis Elementary
  • Homes of Oakridge 
  • Jefferson Elementary 
  • King Elementary
  • Lovejoy Elementary 
  • Madison Elementary 
  • McKinley Elementary 
  • Moore Elementary 
  • Moulton Elementary
  • Perkins Elementary 
  • Phillips Elementary 
  • River Woods Elementary 
  • South Union Elementary
  • Stowe Elementary  
  • Studebaker Elementary
  • Walnut Street Elementary
  • Willard Elementary
  • Windsor Elementary
  • Hiatt Middle School 
  • McCombs Middle School
  • Deer Ridge Apartments

From 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.:

  • Meredith Middle School 


Children age 18 and under eat free at two locations in Johnston through the USDA Summer Food Service Program. 

The program runs from June 7 to August 4. No meals will be provided July 3 and 4. 

In addition to the free meals, kids can enjoy story time and a book exchange every Wednesday. 

  • Sterling Pointe Apartments from 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • The Avenue at Johnston Commons from 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m. 
Credit: Johnston Community School District


Three locations will serve free food through Urbandale's partnership with the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Operational days vary by location, but the program itself runs from June 8-Aug. 10. No food will be given out from July 3-5 across all locations.

  • Olmsted Elementary School from 8 a.m.-9:15 a.m. & 10:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Aldersgate Church from 8:30 a.m.-9:10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.
  • Urbandale Middle School from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.


Waukee also announced its Picnic and Play program, which offers free lunch to kids under 18 as well as fun activities. The program begins June 5 and runs through Aug. 4. 

For a full list of menus, check out the Waukee Community School District's Picnic and Play website..

  • Windfield West Apartments from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Waukee Family Townhomes (Jonas Circle) from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

West Des Moines

Alongside Waukee, the Picnic and Play program will also be an option for those in the West Des Moines area. Here are the times and locations kids can stop by for a free meal:

  • Maple Grove Villas from from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 
  • Sun Prairie Apartments from11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
  • The Lift at Jordan Creek from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Local 5 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Download the apps today to stream live newscasts and watch video on demand.  

► Download the We Are Iowa app
► Sign up for Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter
 Subscribe to Local 5 News on YouTube 

Before You Leave, Check This Out