Op-ed: Free, Healthy, Summer Meals For NYC Children From Harlem To Hollis

July 30, 2016

Schools Chancellor Carmen FariñaBy NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

No child should ever have to go without a meal. That’s why the DOE is, once again, offering completely free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches to anyone 18 years or younger in New York City all summer long. With nearly 1,100 sites in all five boroughs, the summer meals program ensures that children will have easy access to meals over summer break, so they can start the school year ready to learn.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to participate in this important program and help us raise awareness. New York City’s summer meals program is the largest in the country, and together, we can make sure that children don’t go hungry during the summer months.

Eating healthy, regular meals is an essential part of every child’s development. Hungry children have trouble concentrating, and often suffer from frequent stomachaches, headaches and other medical issues. Children and families in New York City, no matter their zip code, deserve access to high-quality food.

Already, summer meals have been a tremendous success – in 2015, we served 8.2 million meals, up from the 7.1 million meals served in 2012 – and we hope to make even more progress this year. We’re serving summer meals at sites across the city, including schools, pools, libraries, NYCHA locations, and four mobile food trucks. At the summer meals sites, children can choose from a variety of healthy and delicious options, such as egg-and-cheese sandwiches, pizza, locally sourced fruit, and my personal favorite, roasted chicken.

As a teacher and a principal, I learned very quickly that our responsibilities to students don’t end when school gets out. For every child, the summer is an important break – it’s a time of much-needed rest, self-exploration and great personal growth. And, as parents and educators, the shared goals we have for our children during the school year – high-level achievement, serious effort, real learning – depend on how we nourish and support children over the summer.

Summer meals will be offered through September 2. No registration, documentation or I.D. is required to receive breakfast or lunch – just stop by a site and enjoy the food.

To find site locations and view daily menus, download the Schoolfood app or visit www.schoolfoodnyc.org.

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