Florida activates website for free student meals during school closure 

On Sunday, Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) activated their Summer BreakSpot website, where families can find free meals for children under 18 during the current coronavirus school closures. The meal locations may be found at SummerBreakSpot.FreshFromFlorida.com.

As of March 15, there are 934 active BreakSpot sites statewide in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Miami-Dade, Duval, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Manatee, Marion, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa Rosa, and Seminole. 

RELATED: All Florida public schools to close for 2 weeks to limit coronavirus spread

The number of locations will steadily increase as FDACS approves additional BreakSpot site applications. 

Users should check the open dates on the map, however, as some locations will not be active during the Spring Break week.

“Social distancing and avoiding crowded areas, like school cafeterias, are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but we can’t let Florida’s children go hungry in the meantime,” Fried explained. “That’s why we’re activating our Summer BreakSpot locations, to offer families an alternative way to find healthy, nutritious meals. For many children, these meals will be the only meals they can count on, so we’re encouraging families to take advantage of this service.”

The Summer Food Service Program, also known as Summer BreakSpot, provides free meals to children under 18 while school is out. 

On Saturday, Fried also announced that federal waivers had been approved giving FDACS authority to offer local school districts flexibility in providing school meals to students during this closure. 

In the 2018-19 school year, Florida’s schools served 286,734,316 school lunches, of which 245,782,422 were free or reduced lunches. 

These schools served 2,908,335 Florida students, of which 2,089,852 were students receiving free or reduced lunches. FDACS is the state agency that funds Florida’s school lunch program, through $1.3 billion in federal funding.

Floridians can visit SummerBreakSpot.FreshFromFlorida.com, enter their address, and search up to 50 miles to find participating free meal locations near them.

If you feel sick

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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