By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Free and Nutritious Meals Available to Georgia’s Children This Summer
Statewide Collaborative Initiative Provides Free Meals Over Summer Break 

ATLANTA –Free summer meals will be made available to Georgia’s food-insecure children during May, June, July and August through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP). 

Summer meals target the 63 percent of school-aged children in Georgia who rely on free and reduced-price lunch for daily nutrition throughout the school year. Nearly 85 percent of these children do not have access to nutritious summer meals and snacks. In fact, more than 20 percent of Georgia families reported not having enough food in 2014. Increasing access and awareness to summer meals is a shared initiative among the Georgia Food Bank Association <http://georgiafoodbankassociation.org/> : Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry Campaign <http://ga.nokidhungry.org/> , national hunger-fighting non-profit Share Our Strength, and the governor’s office <https://gov.georgia.gov/> . 

Federally funded U.S. Department of Agriculture programs SSO and SFSP, administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning <http://decal.ga.gov/>, and its counterpart, the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Programs <http://www.gadoe.org/Finance-and-Business-Operations/School-Nutrition/Pages/default.aspx> , will provide nutritious summer meals in low-income communities where at least 50 percent of its children rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year. Schools, local governments and private non-profits across the state will serve free meals and snacks at locations where children gather during the summer, including faith organizations, schools, summer camps and youth centers.

To find the closest participating site, caregivers can:
1.   Text “FOODGA” to 877877 from a mobile phone, providing them with information on the closest site.
2.   Visit www.georgiafoodbankassociation.org <http://www.georgiafoodbankassociation.org>  for a GPS-enabled map of their closest summer meals site.
3.   Dial 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) for English-speaking participants or Spanish-speaking participants may dial 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). 

About The Georgia Food Bank Association
The Georgia Food Bank Association is comprised of eight regional food banks that are part of the Feeding America network.  Together with their 2,600 partner agencies and congregations, they distribute more than 130 million pounds of food annually to Georgia families in need.  The food bank association’s role is to maximize the impact of its member food banks in the local community where they serve. To learn more, visit www.georgiafoodbankassociation.org 
About the Georgia Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry Campaign
The Feeding for a Promising Future - No Kid Hungry campaign was launched in November 2011 and is a partnership between Share Our Strength and the Georgia Food Bank Association, with support from Governor Nathan Deal. The goal of the campaign is to end childhood hunger in Georgia by connecting kids to effective nutrition programs like summer and afterschool meals and school breakfast.
About Share Our Strength
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities.