WASHINGTON – All kids deserve a happy, healthy summer, but as communities continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic, millions of children are at risk of hunger this summer.
No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger, is launching an awareness campaign to help families find free meals for their kids and teens this summer through a bilingual text service. Parents, grandparents and caregivers can simply text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 to find sites serving free meals in their neighborhood. Chef Lorena Garcia, Ayesha Curry and Big Freedia are joining the effort as campaign ambassadors.
Find Free Meals: Text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 304-304
During the school year, kids can rely on school meal programs like breakfast, lunch and afterschool meals. But when school is out, many of those meals disappear, making summer the hungriest time of the year for kids and teens. This summer, rising food and fuel prices will make it particularly hard for families to put meals on the table.
Free summer meals programs, run by local schools and community groups, are available and open to any kid or teenager who needs a healthy meal. But due to the expiration of pandemic-era child nutrition waivers, an estimated 20% fewer meal sites will be operating this summer in comparison to last year. Kids could miss out on an estimated 95 million meals this summer. No Kid Hungry is equipping schools and community groups with resources to serve as many summer meals as possible and advocating for policies to reduce the barriers that stand in the way of feeding children over the summer.
Raising awareness of the free summer meal program is critical this year, which is why Chef Lorena Garcia, Ayesha Curry, and Big Freedia are stepping up to spread the word about No Kid Hungry’s texting service. They will record public service announcements, amplify on social media and more. Stay tuned to No Kid Hungry’s social channels all summer long to see this content.
“As a Chef, I know exactly how food and nutrition are tied to success and happiness,” said chef, author, restaurateur and TV personality, Lorena Garcia. “Every kid deserves to have a full stomach – no matter what time of year it is. I am proud to partner with No Kid Hungry to promote this critical service so more parents and caregivers, including Spanish-speaking families, know where they can access nutritious meals for their kids while school is out.”
“As a mom of three, it’s hard to fathom the fact that millions of kids aren’t getting the necessary food they need to thrive,” said entrepreneur, chef, two-time New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and member of No Kid Hungry’s National Spokesfamily, Ayesha Curry. “We all have a role to play when it comes to ending childhood hunger, which is why we must bring our villages together and work on the ground to make a real impact. I’m so proud to partner with No Kid Hungry through our Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation to spread the word about our critical programs that ensure all kids have access to food this summer, in Oakland and across the country.”
“I’ve seen No Kid Hungry’s work and the impact of summer meals sites firsthand in my hometown of New Orleans,” said hip-hop artist and TV personality Big Freedia. “Kids need full stomachs to grow properly and to focus on being kids. Summer meals give them the opportunity to do just that.”
To find free summer meals for youth 18 and under, text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 304-304 or visit NoKidHungry.org/Help. Media and the general public can also access the campaign’s social media toolkit to help amplify the message now through Aug. 12.
No Kid Hungry is proud to work with partners like Citi and the Arby’s Foundation to help ensure kids have access to free meals this summer and all year long.
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 6 kids could face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.