NC families can now text to find free meals for children during COVID-19 pandemic

NC families can now text to find free meals for children during COVID-19 pandemic
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper addresses the public alongside health officials during the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: WBTV file)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday morning a new texting tool that will allow parents across the state to find nearby free meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from the governor’s office said that free or reduced price eligible families will now be able to text FOODNC to 877-877 to find nearby meal sites that will provide meals to children while they’re out of school.

The release says that after entering their address, “parents will receive a text with the location and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru free meal sites while schools are closed.”

The governor’s office says that sites have been set up across North Carolina for families with children ages 18 and younger, including preschool children, who rely on free and reduced-price meals at school.

“School closings mean no meals for some of our most vulnerable children. Now families have an easier way to find food during these times of financial stress,” said Cooper.

Parents are also able to call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator who will help them find meal sites in their community. The 2-1-1 service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and services are provided in multiple languages.

In addition to the texting tool, No Kid Hungry has created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across the state where families can access food. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/ and is updated daily.

Volunteers for the food distribution program are needed and state authorities are asking that “people who are not at high-risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19 sign up to volunteer to prepare meals.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, you should call your school district office, community organization or click here.

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