Nearly one in six Georgia residents go to bed hungry every night, and one in four children live in households where purchasing food is a financial challenge.
That’s the latest according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which launched a toll-free hotline to make it easier for hungry Americans to obtain food.
The hotline can be called at 1-866-3-HUNGRY in English or at 1-877-8-HAMBRE in Spanish from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The National Hunger Hotline staff connects callers with emergency food providers in their community, government assistance, nutritional assistance programs, and various services that promote self-sufficiency,” according to a news release issued by the USDA. “During summer months, the hotline provides information about meal sites where children 18 years old and under can get free, nutritious meals through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.”
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The free summer meals are offered in all 50 states at participating schools, libraries, pools and other local sites, funded by the federal government, according to the release. In 2015, a total of 164 million meals and snacks were served to low-income children.
Kevin Concannon is under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. He stressed the importance of the hotline in the fight against hunger.
“USDA’s nutrition assistance programs provide a nutrition safety net, helping to put food on the table in households across America,” he said. “And the toll-free hotline is there for those in need to access this assistance, as well as help provided by private resources.”
Hunger Free America, the organization leading the campaign, also just launched an online portal to make it easier to mobilize volunteers in the fight against hunger. Those interested in volunteering opportunities can go to www.hungervolunteer.org.
“We are starting a national awareness campaign and want to make sure that people who need help can get it quickly and easily,” said Joel Berg, chief executive officer of Hunger Free America. “We also want to make sure that all Americans can give back, by volunteering in ways that move beyond soup kitchen work to attack hunger at its root causes.”