Summer can be the hungriest time of year for millions of children who rely on school meals. 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.
Parents, grandparents and caregivers can simply text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 or visit NoKidHungry.org/WhatsApp to find sites serving free meals in their neighborhood.
Chef, author and restaurateur Kwame Onwuachi, along with singer Patti LaBelle and actress and singer Kelly Rowland are among celebrities helping to raise awareness about this critical effort.
“Our nation’s children deserve a happy, healthy summer and that starts with being fed and nourished, ” says LaBelle. “It’s up to all of us to ensure all kids have the fuel they need to follow their dreams and that parents, grandparents and caregivers have access to this essential program. One hungry child is one too many.”
No Kid Hungry Free Summer Lunches More Accessible
During the school year, free and reduced-price school meals are a lifeline, ensuring children have reliable nutrition access. However, many of these meals disappear when school is out for the summer, putting a bigger financial burden on families struggling with already tight and shrinking budgets.
According to a recent No Kid Hungry poll, parents are having a more challenging time affording groceries to feed their children and are living an unexpected expense away from hunger due to the rise in the cost of food and other necessities like utilities, gas and rent.
Free summer meal programs, run by local schools and community groups, are available and open to any kid or teenager who needs a healthy meal. Still, the program has historically only reached a fraction of the kids that need it. This year, kids are facing a brighter summer. After years of advocacy by No Kid Hungry and others, Congress took action to help more kids get the food they need this summer and beyond. As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, Congress granted greater flexibility for rural communities to offer non-congregate meal options, like meal delivery or pick-up services.
No Kid Hungry is supporting the roll-out and implementation of non-congregate meal options in rural areas by offering technical assistance, funding, sharing best practices and raising awareness. With many communities having greater flexibility in feeding kids this year, it is critical to reach as many as possible who may have not been able to access the program before. Onwuachi, LaBelle and Rowland and more are stepping up to spread the word and ensure kids and teens don’t miss out on the nutrition they need this summer through public service announcements highlighting No Kid Hungry’s summer meals finder resources, amplifying on social media and more.
Bilingual summer meals finder is a new addition this year and is accessible via WhatsApp to help reach more immigrant and Latino families in the U.S. To find free summer meals for youth 18 and under, families can text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 304-304 or visit NoKidHungry.org/Help or NoKidHungry.org/WhatsApp now through August 12.