April 16 marked four weeks that Virginia schools have been closed, and as economic struggles worsen for many, No Kid Hungry Virginia encourages families to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food sites organized by school districts and other community organizations.
“School districts and nutrition teams are doing heroic work to help ensure kids continue to get the nutrition they need during this crisis,” said Sarah Steely, associate director of No Kid Hungry Virginia. “One of the most important things people can do right now is spread the word. We need to make sure families know these free meals are available and can be found using the texting line.”
Virginia’s school closures impact nearly 1.3 million students. More than 450,000 kids in Virginia rely on the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school.
All of Virginia’s 132 school districts are currently offering distribution programs. Across the state, there are over 900 food distribution sites run by school districts and community organizations working to connect students with meals.
School divisions are offering a variety of food distribution models to help safely connect students with meals, including “Grab and Go” service at schools and food delivery along bus routes.
No Kid Hungry Virginia estimates that 17.8 million free and reduced meals have been missed since schools closed a month ago. The nonprofit is using the texting service as an important tool to help kids who were getting meals at school access meals at home.
Approximately, 6,400 texts have been sent to the service since launching on March 23.
No Kid Hungry organizes the texting line and continues to update the service with new information. Families are also encouraged to visit their school division’s website for meal distribution details.