It is officially summer as of today! Kids are out of school, the weather has warmed up, days are longer, and there are plenty of fairs, festivals, and events to be enjoyed throughout the season. While most families look forward to summertime, it’s a particularly rough season for others. For kids who rely on the free meals they get at school, summer can be the hungriest time of year. That’s why I’m helping to spread the word about how families can find free summer meals for their kids!
Childhood Hunger — A Real Challenge for Low-Income Families
For many of us, we can take it for granted that, when we run out of food at home, we can just go to the grocery store to restock. That’s not an option for many low-income families, though. One in six children lives with hunger in the United States and, here in California, that ratio jumps to one in five.
During the school year, some kids qualify to receive free lunches. But, once the school year is over, that provision is no longer available to them. According to No Kid Hungry, a campaign focused on ending childhood hunger in America, six out of seven hungry kids don’t get the summer meals they need. That’s a lot of kids going to bed with empty tummies!
Finding Free Summer Meals Locally
Many schools and community groups across the country run summer meals sites. At these sites, kids can eat breakfast and lunch for free. But, to benefit from these programs, families need to know about them.
Parents, grandparents, and caregivers can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 to find free summer meals sites in their neighborhoods.
This special summer meals texting service is from No Kid Hungry, a campaign focused on ending childhood hunger in America. No Kid Hungry helps local organizations launch and operate these sites. It also helps fund needed equipment like coolers or mobile meals trucks. Over a million families have used No Kid Hungry’s texting service to find free summer meals for their kids. Also, special thanks go to corporate partners Citi, Anthem, Bob’s Red Mill, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Williams Sonoma for making this all possible. Learn more here!
No Kid Hungry Share Summer Event in San Francisco, CA
To raise awareness for the texting service and these summer meals programs, I attended a Share Summer event last Monday. The event was at Monroe Elementary School in San Francisco, CA. This is one of 74 sites in the city which offers free breakfasts and lunches to kids (under 18 years old) every weekday. I find it pretty amazing that almost every neighborhood in the city has access to free meals for their kids! Oh, and by the way, this was one of many events that were held across the country this week.
At the event, kids from around the community were invited to enjoy face painting, music with a live DJ, hula hooping, painting their own apron, and more. It was super lively and the kids were loving it. Ayesha Curry, who is the Share Summer ambassador for No Kid Hungry, was on-site to meet the children too. But, due to a conflict in schedule, she had to leave after the first half hour. (NOTE: Some families did not want their kids to be photographed so I had to blur faces in some photos…)
Of course, they also enjoyed a free lunch in the cafeteria after their morning fun. Salad, fruit, and cheeseburgers were on the menu that day. I loved how the cafeteria staff tried to make sure all the kids included veggies with their lunch. 🙂
No Kid Hungry Texting Service to Find Free Summer Meals
Even though we live in a fairly affluent area, childhood hunger is still a real threat for kids. Last year, 18,490 messages were sent to No Kid Hungry’s texting service to locate summer meals sites in California. Imagine how many families were helped by this service nationwide!
So, if you know of kids in need, help spread the word about No Kid Hungry’s texting service. They way they can find free summer meals sites at schools and community centers near them. Tell families to text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 to find locations and times for free breakfasts and lunches for kids all summer long!
This post is brought to you by No Kid Hungry. All opinions are my own.