WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty $7.2 million to operate its Meals-to-You program for a fifth summer.

The university says this program started in 2019 in order to reach children in rural, frontier and tribal regions who are often underserved in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Children participating in the Meals-to-You program receive shelf-stable meals delivered directly to their home addresses throughout the summer while school is out.

Program guidelines for the Food Service Program have included a congregate requirement – meaning meals are provided to children who eat at a single, centralized location such as a summer camp or school cafeteria. These meals are not always available to children in more remote areas.

Meals-to-You began serves 20 east and west Texas counties to test whether meal delivery could be a successful alternative in areas with limited access to SFSP. Throughout each version of the program, the Baylor Collaborative has worked with vendors such as McLane Global, Chartwells and PepsiCo to assemble boxes of meals following USDA nutrition guidelines for child meal programs.

The university says that an evaluation of Meals-to-You by the Urban Institute found the program to be successful in strengthening food security among participants. The 2023 iteration of Meals-to-You will serve eligible children in select communities in Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Alaska.