Free meals available to Hillsborough County kids this summer: 'We have a need here'

Thousands of kids will be offered free meals across 144 sites this summer thanks to Hillsborough County Public Schools’ annual summer feeding program.

"We participate in summer feeding every year, but what we did do this year was we reached out to a lot more sites because we know that there is still a lot of need out there," Shani Hall, general manager of student nutrition services for Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), said.

Those 144 sites include YMCA camps, summer school programs, daycare centers, and parks and recreation sites across the county.

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"In the summer, a hungry child can't have fun, and they need meals just as much as they do in the school year," Hall said.

Food for breakfast and lunch is prepared and delivered to mobile sites across the county Monday through Thursday as part of the federally funded program called Summer BreakSpot.

"We just still have so much need between inflation and just difficulty with people finding jobs and being able to pay their bills," Hall said.

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Under this program, all kids 18 years old and younger eat for free, whether they are a HCPS student or not.

"We have a need here in Hillsborough County. There's a lot of food insecurity, and there's a lot of families just having a hard time making ends meet," Hall said. "And we really look at it as our honor to provide nutritious, wholesome meals to any child, who is under 18 at any one of our sites."

To find free summer meals near you, click here or text "FOOD" or "COMIDA" to 304-304.

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