No Kid Hungry, a campaign to end childhood hunger in America, has announced it will be immediately deploying $5 million in emergency grants to ensure children have access to free meals as the pandemic forces school closures. As the first phase of an ongoing multimillion-dollar response, these funds will provide critical assistance to schools and community groups across the United States and help fill the gap as 22 million children in need lose access to the free school meals.

“For the 1 in 7 kids across the country who live with hunger, school meals can be the only food they can depend on each day,” said Billy Shore, founder and executive chair of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign, in a press release. “It’s up to all of us to make sure America’s kids—our future leaders—aren’t left behind during this national emergency. Thanks to generous and swift support from individual donors and partners, we’re able to deploy these funds quickly to help provide meals to kids who are most impacted by school closures.”

School districts and community organizations in need of real-time assistance can apply for emergency grants to support a wide range of efforts, including home-delivered meals, pop-up meals programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs, and other steps to help reach children who have lost access to school meals.

Examples of some of the projects No Kid Hungry is funding in this first phase include the following:

  • San Francisco Unified School District to help purchase a refrigerated trailer that is delivering three meals a day to kids in need at 13 schools and two emergency sites in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Oakland Unified School District (Calif.) to hire drivers to restock community food distribution centers where families can pick up free meals for children.
  • Bread for the City (Washington, D.C.) to purchase food and supplies for low-income clients and their children, including baby and infant food packets.

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