'Free Meals for Kids' mobile app to locate food during school closures

Schools in Minnesota are moving to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That limits how kids could get their meals for the day, as some rely solely on school meals. A new mobile app, Free Meals for Kids, is designed to help families in need find and access free meals at hundreds of schools and other sites across the state.

The app is powered by GPS and shows locations of schools and other sites that are providing meals and snack packs, with days and hours for distribution, according to a news release from Hunger Impact Partners. The app also shows the distance and directions to the nearest site.

Kids up to the age of 18 can show up without prior sign-up for free meals.

"While this is an uncertain time, we don't want our families to feel uncertain about our commitment to support them. For many families, the meals served at school may be the only meals that their student have during the week," said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. "This app is a great tool to help families locate sites that are providing free meals, which include many school sites."

On-site staff will ensure social distancing and keep children six feet apart as much as possible. There are also many communities working to support hungry kids with free meals. Anyone looking to include their site on the app is asked to email Lauren Kraft.

The app is free at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, although the Google Play Store was working to resolve issues with the app Thursday. You can also download the app here.