For many kids, summer means warm days spent playing kickball, splashing around a pool, or enjoying fun vacations at resorts and theme parks.
But for the families of more than 22 million children who receive free or low-cost meals during the school year, it means more stress about meeting basic needs. Many of these children have a hard time coming by the same meals when school is out.
That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to get the word out about its Summer Food Service Program. The program is designed to help low-income children continue to have access to nutritious meals in the months when many of their peers are enjoying lazy, outdoor activities.
As part of the program, the USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children this summer at designated food sites in each state. To find out how to access free meals in your part of the country, visit the USDA’s national location-finder map. State requirements may vary. Go here for details such as specific locations and eligibility requirements for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
You can also donate to kids in need through the Feeding America program’s website. The site provides links for those who want to send a tweet their state’s representatives about the issue, or learn more about it themselves.
For information on sites near you, you can also call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8 HAMBRE for a Spanish-speaking operator. You can also text “FOOD” to 877-877 or “HAMBRE” to 877-877 for a reply in Spanish.