Free meal programs for children will continue to be available across Virginia during the summer. No Kid Hungry Virginia encourages families to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free summer food sites organized by school districts and community organizations.
Meal sites are offering a variety of distribution models to help safely connect students with meals and promote social distancing, including “Grab and Go” service and food delivery along bus routes while passing out multiple days’ worth of meals at one-time.
The summer months are already one of the hungriest times of year for many children. The need will be even greater this summer with more than 10% of Virginians facing unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent estimates show that as many as 1 in 4 children could experience food insecurity in the aftermath of this crisis.
“A big challenge is making sure families know how to find resources,” said Sarah Steely, No Kid Hungry Virginia Associate Director. “Please share the texting number with family and friends and on social networks, and check with your local school division for the most detailed information. We need to make everyone is aware about free meal resources in their communities.”
The Summer Meals program is funded by the USDA and operated by school districts and local organizations. Schools have been utilizing the Summer Meals program to operate emergency meal sites throughout the pandemic. Families can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 and type in a zip code to find nearby summer meals sites, along with operating days and times. No application or registration is required at sites.
Summer hunger can have a long-term impact on a child’s health, ability to learn and general well-being. No Kid Hungry Virginia is focused on providing funding and strategic assistance to schools and local organization implementing summer meals programs to help them reach more kids during the pandemic.