While school is out, anyone under the age of 18 can get a free lunch, courtesy of the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, now in its 40th year. Starting this summer, children and adults can call the toll-free National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or use an online tool to find free meal sites. After callers provide their zip code, the hotline directs them to the nearest USDA meal site.

I called the hotline and found that the nearest food site to me in Washington, D.C., is the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. It serves lunch from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline operator told me that the meals must conform to Michelle Obama's federal nutrition standards.

Any child can receive meals at the sites regardless of need, the hotline's Program Manager Gina Bonilla told South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

When I walked into the MLK Jr. Library, the supervisor offered me a meal, no questions asked. As a 21-year-old, I can pass for a high schooler. But I was dressed business casual, like an adult going to work. The supervisor did not ask for an ID, making me wonder how many others can abuse the program. The supervisor recognized the next girl who walked in: 16-year-old Effi, who wished not to disclose her last name.

As for the meal itself, it was nothing glamorous. The main course was a bologna sandwich with a plastic cheese that makes McDonald's look gourmet. Children could enjoy the fruit cup and chocolate milk, but the roasted corn and red pepper salad was a cold, spicy atrocity that most elementary school kids would probably never touch.

Effi could not finish her meal before the site closed at 2:30, but she wanted to save the food for later. The supervisor told her the food could not leave the room. "There's so many regulations we have to follow or we get in big trouble," the supervisor said.

Effi was told that she could save unwanted food for other children but that once the food had been opened, it had to go in the trash. And all food that was unused at 2:30 was thrown away. "That's a waste of food," Effi commented, finally surrendering her food to the garbage can.

The supervisor said that 15 meals are usually enough to meet demand at this location, although two meals were uneaten a few minutes before closing. But if cash-poor D.C. interns figure out they can easily obtain a free meal every weekday, children that really need the meals may not get them.

Emily Leayman is an intern at the Washington Examiner