Text This Number to Find Free Summer Meals for Hungry Kids
A quick text message can help families locate nearby federally supported summer meals sites, which are designed to meet the nutritional needs of children who rely on school lunches and breakfasts during the school year.
Text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 and you will receive a prompt to reply with your address or zip code. The service then pulls active summer-meal sites from a U.S. Department of Agriculture database and sends you a list of nearby locations.
“Last year only about 16% of the kids who rely on free/reduced meals during the school year were getting meals in the summer,” No Kid Hungry says in a release. “One major obstacle: Many families either don’t know the program exists or don’t know how to find sites.”
Summer meal programs, hosted by schools and approved non-profit organizations, offer free meals to children in areas where 50 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. In some cases, those meals are offered from trucks and buses that go into low-income neighborhoods where children may lack transportation to meals sites.
Photo: Nicohles, Destiny, and Desiree Kleis, from left, ate lunch inside the lunch bus, a free summer meal program in Pasco County, Fla. in 2014. A growing number of school districts are creating mobile meals programs to keep children well-fed over the summer. –Melissa Lyttle for Education Week