Free meal sites can be found via text

Children and parents can find free summer meal sites by sending a text message.

Children ages 18 and younger may receive free meals and snacks at approved sponsor sites under the Summer Food Service Program.

By texting the word “food” or “comida” and their zip code to 877-877, a text message listing participating locations and their hours of operation will be sent.

“One of the biggest barriers to kids getting the food they need in the summer months is that families simply don’t know help is available,” said Derrick Lambert, program manager for No Kid Hungry’s Center for Best Practices. “We wanted to find a quick, streamlined way for folks to find summer meals, so No Kid Hungry developed the texting program.”

The database of open sites comes from official USDA data that is updated weekly, according to No Kid Hungry. If no sites are available in the user’s area, a text directs users to the National Hunger Clearinghouse hotline for additional assistance. The number is (866)-3-HUNGRY.

The Summer Food Service Program is administered by the Kansas State Department of Education.

KSDE has the goal of serving more than 1.5 million meals this summer. Sponsors of the program include school districts, local governments agencies, camps and private. non-profits organizations.

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