USDA Pushing ‘Free’ Food: ‘Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish Speakers)’

The U.S. Agriculture Department has set a goal of serving 178 million free meals to children now that school is out. That’s 10 million more meals than were served last summer.

“Admittedly, this is an aggressive goal, and we can’t do it alone,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a column posted on the USDA website. “With strong support from individuals, communities, local governments and advocates, we can reach more kids with nutritious meals during their time out of school.”

USDA is urging Americans to “help spread awareness of summer meals in your community” by using the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre (the latter number for Spanish speakers, it notes).

The government offers free summer meals to anyone 18 and under at approved sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children. USDA notes that teenagers “face the same risks of food insecurity in the summer, so make sure your teens are taking advantage of free summer meals, too!”