With school out, children who rely on school lunches for food may be looking for a healthy meal. This summer the USDA is funding a toll-free hotline for kids and adults to call for information about free meal sites.
As part of the USDA’s Summer Foods Program, any child from across the country can call the nation toll-free hunger hotline. Based on a zip code, callers are then directed to the nearest food site where meals are provided by the USDA. Program Manager of the National Hunger Hotline Gina Bonilla says the meals are free to all kids with no enrollment requirements.
“We’ve had a lot of callers be surprised that this program even exists and I think it’s really important for anyone to know, even if let’s say you might be having a bad week and you’re not able to feed your child, every child should have food and no child should go hungry. And this is a great way to supplement the breakfast and lunch that children receive during the school year,” says Bonilla.
South Dakota has over 50 sites ranging from schools, churches, and camp programs. Only 6 people have called the hotline from South Dakota in the past two months. The hotline also helps families connect with food resources such as food pantries and soup kitchens.