Summer meal programs offer free meals to children in need - FOX Carolina 21

Summer meal programs offer free meals to children in need

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No Kid Hungry Campaign No Kid Hungry Campaign

For some kids, the summer is a time of uncertainty about how they'll get their next meal.

According to the No Kid Hungry campaign, more than 350,000 kids in South Carolina rely on their schools for free breakfast and lunch, but only 20% of those same kids utilize free meals in the summer. 

Some local and national organizations are doing their part to make sure no child goes hungry while school is out this summer.

"Kids lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs that are available when school is in session. Rates of hunger go up and we know its an additional strain on families budgets to cover those additional costs," said Derrick Lambert, Program Manager for No Kid Hungry.

Posts promoting the No Kid Hungry texting campaign can be found across social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. 

According to the campaign, anyone with school-aged children who are in need of breakfast and lunch this summer, can simply text the word 'FOOD' to 877-877. Then, a text comes back asking for your zip code or address.

"When you send the text, it provides information about the name of the site, the address, the days of operation, the times of operation and which meals are served," said Lambert.

The texting campaign is not yet available in the Upstate, but the organization said more locations are being added each week.

Currently, the closest participating location is in Henderson County. In the meantime, school districts across the Upstate are offering free summer meals.

"We just feel like it's important to provide nutritious meals to students all year," said Jenaffer Pitt, Director of Student Nutrition for Pickens County School District. 

Pickens County School District is offering free breakfast and lunch throughout the summer. The Seamless Summer Food Program launched June 5 and goes through August 4.

"There's a lot of students that don't get nutritious meals throughout the summer so we offer that to any school-aged child," said Pitt.

Greenville County Schools are also participating in a summer meal program. More than 20 schools and churches throughout the county will have free meals throughout the summer. Find out more about the program here.

If you or someone you know is in immediate need of assistance, contact the Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479.

Find more summer meal programs here.

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