SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Department of Education is seeking schools, community organizations and Native American tribes to participate in a summertime effort to provide meals and snacks to children.

The Salem Statesman Journal reports that applications are due in April for the Summer Food Service Program that distributes free, nutritious food to children up to age 18 regardless of their family’s income.

The state plans to expand the outreach effort in 15 of the state’s 36 counties.

Education department officials say only 12 percent of more than 307,000 eligible children participate in the summer program.

Last year 135 sponsors served nearly 1.6 million meals and snacks at 816 locations.

The program compensates schools, nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, camps, and faith-based organizations that serve food in supervised environments.

Information from: Statesman Journal,

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