No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America, announced it will be immediately deploying $5 million in emergency grants to ensure children have access to free meals as the coronavirus pandemic forces school closures. As the first phase of an ongoing multi-million-dollar response, these funds will provide critical assistance to schools and community groups across the country, and help fill the gap as 22 million children in need lose access to the free school meals they rely on. This week alone, kids in need will miss more than 101 million free school meals – a number that is expected to rise as more schools close their doors.
“For the 1 in 7 kids across the country who live with hunger, school meals can be the only food they can depend on each day,” said Billy Shore, founder and executive chair of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. “It’s up to all of us to make sure America’s kids – our future leaders – aren’t left behind during this national emergency. Thanks to generous and swift support from individual donors and partners, we’re able to deploy these funds quickly to help provide meals to kids who are most impacted by school closures. This is at least one aspect of the current crisis that is solvable.”
School districts and community organizations in need of real-time assistance can apply for emergency grants to support a wide range of efforts, including home delivered meals, pop-up meals programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs, and other steps to help reach children who have lost access to school meals.
Examples of some of the projects No Kid Hungry is funding in this first phase include:
- San Francisco Unified School District (CA) to help purchase a refrigerated trailer that is delivering three meals a day to kids in need at 13 schools and two emergency sites in low-income neighborhoods.
- Oakland Unified School District (CA) to hire drivers to stock community food distribution centers where families can pick up free meals for children.
- Bread for the City (DC) to purchase food and supplies for low-income clients and their children, including baby and infant food packets.
- Project Bread (MA) to help coordinate free meal sites and expand the Food Source Hotline, which connects families in need with food banks, pantries and sites across the state.
- Manna Food Center (MD) to help provide emergency meals for hungry kids while school is out.
In the coming days and weeks, No Kid Hungry will continually review grant applications, assess community needs and deploy more funds in ways that maximize impact and help feed more kids.
Schools and organizations can access No Kid Hungry’s emergency grant application HERE. For additional information and resources on how to help hungry kids during the coronavirus pandemic, visit NoKidHungry.org.