New this year: Bilingual summer meals finder is accessible via WhatsApp to help reach more immigrant and Latino families in the U.S.
WASHINGTON – All kids deserve a great summer, but for millions of children who rely on school meals, summer can be the hungriest time of year. No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger, is launching an awareness campaign to help families find free meals for their kids and teens this summer. Parents, grandparents and caregivers can simply text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 or visit
NoKidHungry.org/WhatsApp to find sites serving free meals in their neighborhood. This year, No Kid Hungry is expanding this resource for more families to access this information via WhatsApp, a popular messaging app used by immigrant and Latino families. To help raise awareness about this critical effort, Chef, Author, Restaurateur and TV Personality, Lorena Garcia, is teaming up with No Kid Hungry once again this year alongside Legendary Artist and Entertainer Patti LaBelle, Singer, Actress, TV Producer and Entrepreneur Kelly Rowland, Actor and Comedian Eugenio Derbez, TV Host and Actress Alejandra Espinoza, Chef, Author and Restaurateur Kwame Onwuachi, Actress, TV Host and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres and more.
During the school year, free and reduced-price school meals are a lifeline, ensuring that children have reliable access to nutrition. However, when school is out for the summer, many of these meals disappear, putting a bigger financial burden on families who are struggling with already-tight and shrinking budgets. According to a recent No Kid Hungry poll, parents are having a harder time affording groceries to feed their children and are living an unexpected expense away from hunger due to the rise in cost for food and other necessities like utilities, gas and rent.
Free summer meals programs, run by local schools and community groups, are available and open to any kid or teenager who needs a healthy meal, but the program has historically only reached a fraction of the kids that need it. This year, kids are facing a brighter summer. After years of advocacy by No Kid Hungry and others, Congress took action to help more kids get the food they need this summer and beyond. As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, Congress granted greater flexibility for rural communities to offer non-congregate meal options, like meal delivery or pick-up services. Additional details HERE. The bill also establishes a permanent nationwide program called Summer EBT, which provides families with a benefit to buy food in the summer, which will be implemented in 2024.
No Kid Hungry will be supporting the roll-out and implementation of the non-congregate meal options in rural areas by offering technical assistance, funding, sharing best practices and raising awareness. With many communities having greater flexibility in how they can feed kids this year, it is critical to reach as many as possible who may have not been able to access the program before. This is why Chef Lorena Garcia, Patti LaBelle, Kelly Rowland and more are stepping up to spread the word and ensure kids and teens don’t miss out on the nutrition they need this summer. They will do actions such as record public service announcements highlighting No Kid Hungry’s summer meals finder resources, amplify on social media and more.
According to Lorena Garcia, chef, author, restaurateur and TV personality, “The summer meals program is a lifeline for so many families when school is out, but one of the biggest barriers is simply awareness. I’m thrilled to team up with No Kid Hungry once again and help reach even more families this year with bilingual resources and through WhatsApp, which is a way to reach immigrant and Latino families where they are.”
“Our nation’s children deserve a happy, healthy summer and that starts with being fed and nourished, ” says Legendary Artist and Entertainer, Patti LaBelle. “It’s up to all of us to ensure all kids have the fuel they need to follow their dreams and that parents, grandparents and caregivers have access to this essential program. One hungry child is one too many.”
“I may be an entertainer and actress but my most important role in life is being a mom,” said Kelly Rowland, singer, actress, TV producer and entrepreneur. “As a parent, I’m proud to join No Kid Hungry and help make sure families across America know that free summer meals are there to help when school’s out.”
To find free summer meals for youth 18 and under, families can text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 304-304 or visit NoKidHungry.org/Help or NoKidHungry.org/WhatsApp. Media and the general public can also access the campaign’s social media toolkit to help amplify the message now through Aug. 12.