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App helps fight summer food insecurity in Minnesota

New program helps ensure Minnesota kids don’t go hungry during summer
New program helps ensure Minnesota kids don’t go hungry during summer 01:40

MINNEAPOLIS — Summer is now in full swing. But when school's out, it can be a really hungry time for Minnesota families. 

For anyone struggling with food insecurity, there are ways to find resources to help keep your fridge full. 

"Food insecurity shows up in every county in Minnesota," Second Harvest Heartland Director of Community Partnerships and Investment Angelica Klebesch said.

When school isn't in session, that struggle is amplified.

"When kids are in school they're going to have access to food in school. The universal school meals did a great job of accessing that, but over the summer it can be really challenging for families to figure out where to turn," Klebesch said.

It's why organizations like Second Harvest Heartland step it up during the summer months to fill that need. 

Across the state,  there are hundreds of state and federally funded free food sites.

"They're going to be at schools and parks and libraries, just really familiar places for families in their community," Klebesch said.

And they can all be found through an app. It's called "Free Meals for Kids" and it aims to connect families to resources across the state. 

"Right now, we have nearly 900 sites, we'll probably get up to 1,100 sites," Hunger Impact Partners MN Executive Director Ellie Lucas said.

New this year is the "Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer" program. According to Gov. Tim Walz's administration, families who qualify will receive $120 per child to purchase groceries during the summer months. 

"If you're looking for a food shelf, or you're looking for, you know how to sign up for EBT, summer EBT, or SNAP, you can do it here, too. So everything's in the palm of your hand," Lucas said.

It's expected to feed up to 400,000 kids. 

"It's wonderful, because being able to augment, you know, family income by utilizing an EBT redemption program for summer foods for kids, is a big deal," Lucas said.

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