No Kid Hungry Virginia creates texting line for families impacted by school closure

Parents can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food distribution sites

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ROANOKE, Va. – On Monday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that all public schools will be closed for the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus.

This announcement impacts nearly 1.3 million students, while more than 450,000 of them rely on free and reduced meals at school.

No Kid Hungry Virginia wants to encourage families to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food distribution sites organized by local school districts and other community organizations.

No Kid Hungry organizers say its organized the texting line and will continue to update the service with new information.

“During this pandemic, we need to make sure kids who have been getting meals at school are now getting meals at home,” said Sarah Steely, No Kid Hungry Virginia senior program manager, said. “Vulnerable children are losing the school meals they depend on, and low-income families are struggling with lost wages. One of the most important things people can do right now is spread the word. We need to make sure families know these free meals are available and can be found using the texting line.”

School districts in Southwest and Central Virginia have been holding food distributions as well as dropping food off for students at bus stops for the last week.