Governor Roy Cooper announced today that parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

After entering their address, parents will receive a text with the location and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru free meal sites while schools are closed. Sites have been set up across the state for families with children ages 18 and younger, in-cluding preschool children, who rely on free and reduced-price meals at school.

"School closings mean no meals for some of our most vulnerable children. Now fami-lies have an easier way to find food during these times of financial stress," Governor Cooper said.

Parents can also call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator who will help them locate meal sites in their community. The 2-1-1 service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are provided in English, Spanish and many other languages.

Additionally, No Kid Hungry has created a map of local school sites, community organ-izations and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can ac-cess food. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/ and is updated daily.

The Governor’s North Carolina COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group, co-chaired by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), worked in partnership with state and com-munity organizations such as No Kid Hungry to set up the texting program.

School sites and community organizations providing food are experiencing a high de-mand for services and rely on dedicated volunteers to provide meals. NCDHHS and NCDPI ask that people who are not at high-risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19 sign up to volunteer to prepare meals. Those interested in volunteering should call their local school district office, community organization or visit volun-teernc.org.

For more information and additional guidance on regulations and recommendations related to the health threat from COVID-19, please visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.