July 25, 2019

Even though school’s out, children across Texas still have access to free healthy meals thanks to two state agencies.

Texas Health and Human Services and the Texas Department of Agriculture collaborate to provide information on how children can access free meals during the summer months.

The Summer Food Service Program provides breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner to children 18 and younger when school isn’t in session. The meals are provided at various sites run by nonprofits, libraries, schools and other community organizations across the state. Last summer, the program served 15.2 million meals at more than 6,000 locations.

“Parents and caregivers can easily access the information they need to find a site near them by calling 2-1-1 and choosing Option 1,” said Elisa Hendricks, associate commissioner for Community Access. “We’re thrilled to be able to support a program that keeps children nourished, fed and healthy this summer.”

2-1-1 gives free, 24/7 access to information and referral services for the program. Last year, 2-1-1 fielded more than 1,000 calls about summer meals.

“Food is consistently in the top three needs requested by callers of 2-1-1, Option 1,” said Debbie Wise, program manager for the 2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network.

The program runs through Aug. 31.

Agencies enrolled in the Community Partner Program help people apply for health, food and cash benefits through YourTexasBenefits.com. Community partners — such as food banks, health clinics, Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and HHS benefits offices — have posters and postcards with information about the summer meal programs to help Texans find meal sites.

To learn more, visit SummerFood.org.