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Free summer meals help low-income children cope

hunger-free-america-logoGiven that humans must burn more calories over the summer to keep cool, record temperatures this summer will further increase the need for free summer meals for low-income children funded by the federal government.

That is why the nonprofit group Hunger Free America is now ramping up its efforts to publicize the USDA National Hunger Hotline — which can be reached at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish). The hotline helps families locate summer meals sites for kids, food pantries or soup kitchens for families, and/or other government and private meals programs near them.

Even though children need just as much, if not more, nutrition during the summer months, in Tennessee, only 13.3 percent of kids who receive free and reduced school meals, receive summer meals. Raising awareness about this program is the single greatest barrier to participation. Summer meals are available to all kids 18 and under, and no identification is required.

Hunger Free America also just launched, hungervolunteer.org. a state-of-the art volunteer matching portal to make it easier to mobilize the unique talents and skills of each individual volunteer in order to take the biggest bite out of hunger.

Hunger Free America’s CEO Joel Berg said, “Now everyone can get – or give – help. If you’re hungry or at risk of hunger, it can be a daunting task to obtain food and benefits. The hunger hotline can immediately help connect families with food providers in their area. We are starting a national awareness campaign and want to make sure that people who need help can get it quickly and easily. We also want to make sure that all Americans can give back, by volunteering in ways that move beyond soup kitchen work to attack hunger at its root causes.”

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