Meet Up and Chow Down

Meet Up and Chow Down children and volunteers

What is Meet Up and Chow Down? Meet Up and Chow Down logo

Meet Up and Chow Down is United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's free summer lunch program for children on the Iron Range.  The program was piloted in 2016 in Chisholm; 1,680 meals were served.  Over the summer of 2020, 8,427 Meet Up and Chow Down lunches were served at eight sites in Aurora, Chisholm, Hibbing, Mt. Iron, and Virginia. The program is provided through support from the USDA and Minnesota Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program. 

What is the Need?

More than 1,000 children in the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) service territory on the Iron Range are enrolled in the Buddy Backpack Program each school year. The UWNEMN Board and Staff recognized the need for a summer food program. School districts have also expressed a need for such a program in the summer, when the Buddy Backpack program is unavailable. 

2020 Meet Up and Chow Down results:

To view the 2020 Meet Up and Chow Down report, click HERE


Some sites are already full staffed, but volunteers are still needed to hand out free summer lunches to local children in Aurora and Chisholm. Click HERE to contact Michelle for more information!

The Virginia HRA (Pine Mill Court) site is in need of volunteers!

Volunteers are needed on Mondays and Wednesdays in August. Please contact if you are interested!

What's involved?

Volunteers pick up coolers at a designated location in their community, transport coolers to Meet Up and Chow Down site, set up Meet Up and Chow Down signage, distribute and track lunches, and return materials to the pick up site for the next day's volunteers. All-told, expect about 1.5 hours/day.

The program is Monday through Thursday weekly. Due to COVID-19 all sites are “Grab & Go” style service. Children will not be allowed to eat on site. We are requiring that all volunteers wear a mask and gloves. These will be provided if volunteers don’t have their own. For ease in staffing we are asking that if you are able to volunteer that you select 1 day per week for the summer if possible. A basic training which takes about 30 minutes has to be completed prior to volunteering. 

To get started...

Contact Community Impact and Engagement Coordinator Michelle Lampton at 218-254-3329 or