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Commissioner Fried activates 2-1-1 hotline for free kids meals during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 10:37 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 10:37:35-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — This week, Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have partnered with 2-1-1 to activate a text line and call center open 24/7, which families can contact to find free meals for children under 18 during the current COVID-19 school closures.

This follows the Department’s recent activation of the Summer BreakSpot children’s meal locator website.

“For so many of Florida’s children, school meals are the only meals they can count on – that’s why we’re now providing even more ways to secure healthy, nutritious meals for kids,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Floridians can now find Summer BreakSpot free meal locations by text, by phone, and online, with additional locations being added every day. We encourage families to take advantage of these free resources, and to check with their school districts on other meal availability.”

As of March 20, there are approximately 1,000 approved Summer BreakSpot sites statewide. The number of locations will continue to increase as FDACS approves additional BreakSpot locations.

The following counties are in operation the week of March 16: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Broward, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Duval, Hamilton, Indian River, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Polk, Sumter, Suwannee, and Union.

The following counties will be in operation the week of March 23: Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Charlotte, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia, Walton, and Washington.

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

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

Floridians can call 2-1-1, text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211, or click here and enter their address, and search up to 50 miles to find participating free meal locations near them.

Again, users should contact listed locations to confirm opening dates and times.