Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.
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. Sites have been set up across the state 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,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Parents can also call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator who will help them locate meal sites in their community. The 2-1-1 service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are provided in English, Spanish and many other languages.
Additionally, No Kid Hungry has created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/ and is updated daily.
The Governor’s North Carolina COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group, co-chaired by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), worked in partnership with state and community organizations such as No Kid Hungry to set up the texting program.
School sites and community organizations providing food are experiencing a high demand for services and rely on dedicated volunteers to provide meals. NCDHHS and NCDPI ask that people who are not at high-risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19 sign up to volunteer to prepare meals. Those interested in volunteering should call their local school district office, community organization or visit volunteernc.org.
For more information and additional guidance on regulations and recommendations related to the health threat from COVID-19, please visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.