When the kids come home for summer break, things can get expensive. Schools not only educate kids and keep them safe during the day, but they also feed two meals a day to millions of children and teens nationwide who rely on school lunches. School lunches, for all their faults, are subsidized by the government and feed at a low cost or no cost nearly 3 million kids here in Texas who need them most. When summer comes around, those kids can be left without enough to eat while school is out. Luckily, that’s where the Texas Hunger Initiative’s Summer Meals Program comes in.

“Summertime should mean friends and fun for children. But for students who rely on school breakfast and lunch, summer can be the hunger season,” said John Puder, Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) Regional Manager for Child Hunger Outreach. The Texas Hunger Initiative is a non-profit collaborative project housed within Baylor University which is dedicated to ending hunger in the Lone Star State through research, collaboration, and community outreach. THI’s goal is to make Texas “food secure” through ensuring that every Texan has access to three healthy meals each day, no matter what.

In the greater Houston area, THI is working to raise awareness of and facilitate hundreds of free meal locations throughout Harris County in schools, churches, recreation centers, parks, and even some apartment complexes. Children aged 18 and younger can stop by any of these meal locations to receive a free meal, no questions asked and no strings attached. There is no paperwork, registration, or proof of income required – the only requirement is to be a child who needs a meal. Currently, there are over 700 approved Summer Meals Program sites in Harris County alone.

To find one of the hundreds of Summer Meals program locations in Harris County, interested children or parents can call 2-1-1, text “FOOD” to 877-877, or visit www.summerfood.org.