Feeding the Gulf Coast Offering FREE Summer Meals For Children While Schools Are Out

Feeding the Gulf Coast Offering FREE Summer Meals For Children While Schools Are Out

July 13, 2020 – Feeding the Gulf Coast is partnering with local community organizations to offer free meals to children, ages 18 and younger, this summer through the Summer Meals Program. The program is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is designed to fill the nutritional gap that is left when children are out of school during summer months and do not have access to free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school. 

"Each summer we operate the Summer Meals Program,” said Eugenie Sellier, Child Nutrition Programs Director at Feeding the Gulf Coast. The program typically kicks off at the end of May, but with schools closing early, we knew we needed to quickly launch the program to ensure that children in need had access to meals. We are partnering with over 78 sites this summer in Alabama to provide 3,621 meals on a daily basis. Our goal is to ensure that all children have access to nutritious food during the summer. We know that parents do not always have the resources to provide healthy meals for their kids.” Since March 13 as schools began closing, Feeding the Gulf Coast has provided more than 324,900 nutritious meals and snacks for children across our entire service area.

Over 40,640 children are food-insecure in our Alabama service area. The far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 have created an increased struggle for families who are trying to balance a new normal while children are out of school for the summer. Additionally, due to CDC restrictions on communal gatherings, several of our long-time sites have not reopened leading to a decrease in site partners. If interested in becoming a site partner, please visit our website at www.feedingthegulfcoast.org.  

This program has a significant impact on children and families during the summer months across the Central Gulf Coast. Last summer, Feeding the Gulf Coast served 257,099 meals and snacks to over 8,600 children in Alabama alone, and nearly 432,445 meals to children across the Central Gulf Coast at area churches, schools, parks and community centers. 

As families are faced with an increased need for food due to lost jobs, hours and wages, or facing self-quarantine requirements, the "Find Help" feature available at www.feedingthegulfcoast.org is the best source of information for families and individuals seeking assistance. Individuals can also call (888) 704-FOOD.

Parents and caregivers seeking meals for children, ages 18 and younger, can text the word "FOOD” (or "COMIDA”) to 877-877 to find distribution sites near them.



About Feeding the Gulf Coast
Feeding the Gulf Coast, formerly Bay Area Food Bank, serves a 24-county area spanning the Florida panhandle, south Alabama, and south Mississippi. In 2019, the food bank distributed over 24 million meals to over 400 church pantries, soup kitchens, and other nonprofit organizations throughout its service area. The food bank also operates multiple hunger-relief and nutrition programs, including Summer Meals, Afterschool Meal, Backpack, Disaster Relief, Mobile Pantry and Produce Drop Distributions and Nutrition Education. Feeding the Gulf Coast is a United Way member agency and a member of Feeding America. For more information, visit www.feedingthegulfcoast.org

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