Free meals for kids— Mobile App locates school meals during closure 

MSR News Online/MSR News Online

With schools moving to distance learning, free nutritious school meals for kids 18 and under are only a click away. Starting immediately, the Free Meals for Kids mobile App will help families in need find and access free meals at hundreds of schools and other sites across Minnesota. 

 The App is powered by GPS and shows locations of schools and other sites that are providing meals and meal packs, with days and hours for distribution. It also shows the distance and directions to the nearest site. Kids up to age 18 can show up without prior signup for free meals. 

“While this is an uncertain time, we don’t want our families to feel uncertain about our commitment to support them. For many families, the meals served at school may be the only meals that their student have during the week,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “This App is a great tool to help families locate sites that are providing free meals, which include many school sites.”

Many of the schools and other sites are located in areas where at least half of the children are eligible for free and/or reduced-price school meals. On-site staff will ensure social distancing and keep children six feet apart as much as possible. There are also many communities working to support hungry kids with free meals.

“This is the time when the technology of a mobile App can help the most,” said Ellie Lucas, executive director of Hunger Impact Partners, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that created the App. “Hunger does not stop when students stop going into school buildings.”

The App is free at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (Google Play Store is experiencing issues that should be resolved soon, so please check back. An alternative way to download the App for Android phones is on www.hungerimpactpartners.org) The App listing of schools and other sites providing meals will be updated daily.

To include your food site on the App, please email Lauren Kraft at lkraft@hungerimpactpartners.org.

For more info, email Wendy Hatch at wendy.hatch@state.mn.us or call 651-582-8717 or email Wendy Tai at wtai@hungerimpactpartners.org or call 763-234-9019.

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