Summer vacation can be an exciting break, with promises of trips to the beach and hanging out with friends. But for children and youth experiencing homelessness, the unstructured summer months can represent a source of anxiety and the absence of regular access to meals. Here are three ways to connect children, youth, and families with food during the summer months. (Note: parents/caregivers may sometimes be required to pay a small fee.)
1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA offers an easily-navigable national summer meals locator website in English and Spanish. Simply type in an address to locate the 10-50 nearest meal providers. The search tool generates the meal providers’ locations, type(s) of meals provided (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), days of operation, and meal times.
2. No Kid Hungry. If texting is easier, families can find summer meals through No Kid Hungry by texting “FOOD” to 877-877. The system prompts the user to provide their address or zip code, which is used to provide the location and service times of up to three nearby summer meals sites. The service is also available in Spanish by texting the word “COMIDA” instead of “FOOD”.
3. 211. Alternatively, call your local 211 to obtain a list of summer food service programs.