Summer Meals Texting Hotline

  • No Kid Hungry Summer Meals Texting Hotline: 2019 Overview
    No Kid Hungry is proud to promote our summer meals texting hotline, which began in 2013 and is entering its seventh year of operation. This hotline, made possible through the generous support of the Arby’s Foundation, allows children and families to easily and quickly identify open summer meal sites in their area with the use of a mobile phone. In 2018, No Kid Hungry connected over 200,000 families with information about summer meal sites.

    Simple to Use!
    To receive information about open summer meal sites, users text ‘FOOD’ to 877-877 and receive a text back prompting them to enter a street address, city and state and/or zip code for their desired location. While the hotline is able to return results for inputs that include only city and state and/or zip code, including a full street address will return results that are more accurate. The service then provides information about nearby meal sites, or information about how to access other food resources if no sites are operating in the vicinity.

    What about Spanish?
    The texting hotline also has a Spanish keyword! Text ‘COMIDA’ to 877-877 to find summer meal sites in Spanish, using the same process outlined above.

    How does it work?
    When users text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 877-877, the service is activated and prompts users to provide a street address, city and state and/or zip code. Upon doing so, users then receive a subsequent text or texts containing site locations, contact information and meal service times for up to three summer meal sites in their area. The database of open sites is drawn from an official USDA database that is publicly available and updated weekly. Share Our Strength staff upload this data onto an online platform that uses geolocation technology to connect hotline users to nearby sites. In instances where no sites are available, users are directed toward the National Hunger Clearinghouse hotline (1-866-3-HUNGRY; 1-877-8-HAMBRE) for additional assistance.

    Help us spread the word!
    The texting hotline, like summer meals, is only helpful to children and families if they know about it! Promotion of the hotline is therefore essential to achieving awareness of this tool and the programs they support. To spread the word, anti-hunger advocates and other community-based organizations have banded together and worked collaboratively with State Agencies to include information about the texting hotline on printed materials; featured the texting hotline in newsletters and press releases; and paired information about the hotline with kickoff events, social media messages, and both earned and paid media. In Dallas, for example, the Texas Hunger Initiative featured the texting hotline on posters placed in WIC offices and food pantries, leading to an increase in use of the service. If you are looking for ready-made outreach materials to promote both summer meals and the texting hotline, look no further than No Kid Hungry’s Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit.

    Questions or concerns about promoting the texting hotline in your community? Contact the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices for assistance.

    Hotline not working properly or providing inaccurate results? Send a brief message outlining the problem to texting@strength.org so we can address the issue.