HOW TO FIND FREE SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS THIS SUMMER
Text “FoodGA” to 877-877 or call 2-1-1
Parents looking for free summer lunch for their children now have an easy way to find locations near them. Text the word “FoodGA” to 877-877 and enter your address when prompted. The system will send information on the three closest locations to you. Or you can call 2-1-1, United Way’s helpline for site locations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to kids across Georgia similar to school lunch and breakfast programs, except meals are free to all kids ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals site registered through the USDA. Summer meal sites are located at safe locations throughout the community.
“More than 2,500 walk-in or mobile sites are operating in Georgia this summer. That is a great start, but we need more churches, schools and nonprofits to participate in this program. ” said Danah Craft, Executive Director of the Georgia Food Bank Association. Nearly 60 percent of children enrolled in Georgia’s public schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, but only 11 percent of them participate in summer meal programs.
This texting system is part of the Georgia Food Bank Association’s “Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry campaign” in Georgia. Launched in November 2011, this campaign is a partnership between Share Our Strength and the Georgia Food Bank Association, with support from Governor Nathan Deal. The campaign aims to end childhood hunger by using proven strategies to increase the number of Georgia children who eat nutritious meals offered through Summer and Afterschool Meals Programs. Nonprofits, churches and schools who enroll in these programs can receive reimbursement for the meals served.
The texting system is funded nationally by the Arby’s Foundation, which is headquartered in Georgia. The Arby’s Foundation pledged an additional $3 million over the next three years to the Georgia Food Bank Association to accelerate Georgia’s campaign with additional strategies that include capital investments to build new kitchens or add equipment or vans that increase the number of meals that are being delivered. “We know that building capacity to feed more children is as important as making sure parents are aware of the location of existing sites”, said Michele Chivore, Campaign Director. “And we are partnering with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to provide nutrition education strategies for school nurses as well as peer learning opportunities with 4-H programs. This campaign is bringing private philanthropic dollars to the table with public resources like the USDA funding.”
To learn more about the Georgia “Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry campaign”, visit NoKidHungry.org/Georgia and to learn more about the Georgia Food Bank Association and see a map of open summer meal sites, visit http://georgiafoodbankassociation.org/find-your-food-bank/find-a-su... or http://ga.nokidhungry.org/free-summer-meals.