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Free meal programs for children are available across the Commonwealth during the summer although a lot of families do not know where to find them.

The program, No Kid Hungry Virginia encourages families who need assistance with summer food for their children to text FOOD to 877-877 for a list of free summer food sites organized by schools and community organizations.

Meal sites are offering a variety of distribution models to safely connect students with the meals they need, while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The summer months of June, July and August are often some of the hungriest times of year for many children and the need is even greater this summer with more than 10-percent of Virginians facing unemployment due to the pandemic.

Estimates even show as many as one in four children could experience food insecurity.

“A big challenge is making sure families know how to find resources. Please share the texting number with family and friends and on social networks, and check with your local school division for the most detailed information. We need to make [sure] everyone is aware about free meal resources in their community.”

SARAH STEELY, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF NO KID HUNGRY VIRGINIA

After you text FOOD, or COMIDA to 877-877, you can type in a zip code to find nearby summer meal sites, along with operating days and times.

There is no application or registration required at sites.

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