Be Well: Your guide to a healthy and affordable summer

Be Well Health Tips - June 5th, 2024

Reading Time: 6 Minute/s

Be Well Health Tips

Be Well: Your guide to a healthy and affordable summer

Posted on June 5th, 2024 - Reading Time: 6 Minute/s

Summer is all about fun in the sun and spending time with loved ones.


If you have school-aged kids at home, you may be thinking about how to keep them busy and healthy this summer while staying on a budget. If you don’t have kids, this blog is for you too.

Use this guide to find resources in your community that can help with food, childcare, youth activities, and housing. Plus, get some ideas for free and affordable fun – for the whole family.

Food and nutrition support

Healthy meals and snacks help kids, teens, and adults get the nutrition they need to be active and enjoy the summer months. There are resources in your community that can help keep the whole family fed and ready for fun.

 Free lunches for kids

  • Free Summer Meals are available for kids and teens at parks, community centers, schools, and faith-based organizations in your community. Find a Free Summer Meals Site near you
  • USDA’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT), known as SUN Bucks in Washington, will start in summer 2024 to provide grocery-buying benefits to low-income families with school-aged children when schools are closed for the summer. Get more details about SUN Bucks -> 

 Get help with groceries

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, SNAP EBT, or Basic Food assistance, provides monthly benefits for individuals and families with low incomes to buy food. Apply for SNAP online
  • Get no-cost pantry basics at food banks, like rice or canned goods, when you need a little extra help. Find a food bank near you 
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides temporary cash for families who need support and expecting parents who qualify. Apply for TANF online
Did you know

Did you know: You can stretch your SNAP benefits by buying produce? Participating farmers markets and grocery stores match what you spend on produce, up to $25 or more per day. Check with your local participating market for their daily match amount.Find out who offers SNAP Match in your area: Farmers markets | Grocery stores | Rewards

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program helps families get healthy food. The program is for pregnant people, new parents, infants, and children under age 5.  If you qualify for TANF or SNAP, you may be eligible for WIC too. Apply for WIC online
  • Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) may also be an option for families who have a short-term need and do not receive TANF. Apply for DCA online

You can also apply for these programs by calling 877-501-2233 or by visiting your local Community Services Office.

CHPW’s Community Support Services team is here to help. We can chat with you about your options and help you get the support you need.

Affordable childcare and youth programs

Summer programs are a great way for kids and teens to stay safe and social. Take a look at these resources for support with childcare and youth activities.

Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) helps families pay for childcare while parents are at work or medical appointments. Read about WCCC eligibility

Seasonal Child Care subsidies help parents who work in agricultural settings pay for childcare. See if you qualify and how to apply

Licensed School-Age Care programs operate before and after school and during summer and holiday breaks. To find licensed childcare near you, connect with Child Care Aware of Washington

Boys & Girls Club helps kids achieve their potential with after-school and summer programs, character development, support, security, and mentorship. Get more details about the Boys & Girls Club benefit

Did you know

Did you know: Apple Health (Medicaid) plans include free membership to the Boys & Girls Club, for kids aged 6 to 18.

You can also look to local organizations in your community for additional kids’ programs. Check your local parks and recreation department, YMCA, library, school district, communities of faith, and your county and city websites.

Help with housing, paying rent, or finding shelter

Tough times happen in any season. Know you have support near you for housing and shelter – whether it’s help paying rent, finding a safe place to go, or keeping cool when it gets really hot outside.

Housing assistance. Use this government website to look for rental assistance in your area, including low-income housing and overnight or emergency shelters. If you cannot find any programs in your area, call 2-1-1 or your local housing authority for assistance.

Emergency cash assistance. Some nonprofits like Jewish Family ServicesSalvation Army, and Catholic Community Services may offer emergency cash assistance.

Local cooling shelters. When temperatures get hot, local cooling centers may open in your area and are free to access. For local cooling shelter information and help if you are experiencing homelessness, call 2-1-1. Find a Cooling Center

Free and low-cost family activities

We make the best memories when we spend time with our loved ones. Get creative and know you don’t have to spend money to make special moments for your family. You may be surprised by how many free and low-cost activities your community offers!

Spend the day at the Zoo! The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle provides reduced-cost tickets to families receiving food benefits like SNAP or WIC, DSHS kinship caregivers, and foster caregivers. Look for “Discover Ticket” pricing. Plan your visit and buy your tickets online

Visit a museum for an afternoon of fun activities for kids and adults. A special discounted rate is available to families and individuals receiving food assistance, by showing an EBT, P-EBT, CHIP, Provider One, WIC, or Apple Health card and ID. Look for “Museums for All” pricing. Find participating museums near you

Explore the outdoors. Washington has more than 140 state parks, historic sites, and trails to explore. Take a nature walk, have a picnic, play on the playground, or enjoy a swim. Just remember to bring sunscreen! Find a park near you

Did you know
Did you know: Some state parks, trailheads, and other state recreational lands in Washington require a Discover Parking Pass to access. To avoid buying a pass, visit on a Free Day.  See which days are free to park

Take a trip to Jetty Island. In Western Washington, from the Port of Everett, take a boat ride ($3-$5) to Jetty Island. Here you can enjoy the longest sandy beach in Puget Sound, and shallow warm water to swim in. View the ferry schedule

Play at a Spokane Splash Pads. In Eastern Washington, Spokane is home to 19 splash pads, or public water parks. Two popular spots are at Manito Park and Discovery Playground in the Spokane Valley. Free to access.  Find a Spokane Splash Pad

CHPW is here for you

We are here to help you have a fun and healthy summer. If you’re a CHPW Apple Health member, contact CHPW’s Community Support Services team if you have any questions or need help getting resources. You can email them at [email protected].

More summer resources from CHPW Connections

We believe you are the expert on what you need. Do you have ideas about how CHPW could better support you? Are you interested in sharing your experience and helping us build a better health plan? See if joining a CHPW Member Advisory Council is right for you

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