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Summer Meals

Summer meals

CISS Offering Free Summer Meals to DSM Youth

Central Iowa Shelter and Services offers free meals to Des Moines Youth throughout the summer prepared by its Community Kitchen. Anyone ages 18 and under is invited to attend one of the many meal sites in Iowa to receive free and nutritious meals.

Central Iowa Shelter & Services’ sites begin serving meals on June 12,13 or July 5 and run every week during the summer Monday-Friday at various times and locations.

More than 40,000 students in central Iowa qualify for free or reduced-price meals, but approximately 3,000 children take advantage of free meals during the summer. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s anticipated that this number has grown.


Meal sites are located at schools, parks, or other organizations, and site sponsors – or hosts – are approved by the Iowa Department of Education and offer grab-and-go meals prepared in our Community Kitchen. Anyone up to age 18 can receive a free meal regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. No registration or sign up is required. Children do not need to be present due to new USDA guidance.

Our 2024 Locations

Coming soon…

Sponsor a Meal Site

Join Central Iowa Shelter and Services in making a lasting impact on Des Moines’ youth this summer. Our Free Summer Meals Program ensures no child goes hungry during the break. This year, we’re inviting businesses to step up as sponsors for meal sites or kickoff events. Align your brand with a cause that matters—nourishing young minds and bodies. Be a part of a community-driven initiative that not only provides essential nutrition but also fosters a sense of togetherness. Your support can make this summer unforgettable for kids across Des Moines. Let’s create a season of giving, one meal at a time.

Volunteer to Help

Summer Meals is a great opportunity for families and for students (16 years or older) to volunteer to help with our lunch prep and serving at the parks. The time is small and the impact is big! Here’s how you can help:

Lunch Prep

Check back with us soon to learn how you can help assemble our lunches for students. 


Central Iowa Shelter & Services is an equal opportunity provider.
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA:


U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410


(833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442