For the hundreds of thousands of NYC children who rely on school meals throughout the school year, the City’s FREE summer meals program provides much needed support.
Today, NY Yankees Manager Joe Girardi joined Harlem City Council Members Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal, Parks’ First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, NYC Coalition Against Hunger Director Joel Berg, Deputy Schools’ Chancellor Elizabeth Rose, the American Dairy Association and Share Our Strength to bring awareness to the availability of FREE summer meals for children 18 years and under at Harlem’s LaskerPool in Central Park.
On behalf of the American Dairy Association, Girardi spoke about the importance of nutrition and exercise for children over the summer and conducted a drawing for Yankee game tickets to reward children for eating healthy. “Summer should be a cheerful time for our kids, but for thousands of NYC children one thing is missing this time of year: regular healthy meals. New York City is doing something about this, by offering free, healthy breakfast and lunch meals for everyone ages 18 and under during the summer months. Our children need the tools to thrive at all times during the year, and they should not be at risk of hunger just because school’s no longer in session. I applaud Joe Girardi and all of our wonderful community organizations who have come together to promote this important initiative for New York City kids,” said Council Member Mark Levine.
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Over the past 5 years, the number of City residents receiving aid under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increased from 1.3 million to 1.8 million making the FREE summer meals program vital to City families. New York City Coalition Against Hunger Executive Director Joel Berg said, “Summer meals are a home run for hungry New York City children. One in five children in New York City face food insecurity sometime during the year, a startling statistic which only worsens in summer months due to the lack of school meals. Our team at the NYC Coalition Against Hunger is working tirelessly to raise awareness about the availability of summer meals, and appreciate events like this to help get this information out.”
The summer meals program began on June 27 and runs through September 4 and is available to all children age 18 and younger — no registration or identification required— at roughly 1,000 locations, including pools, schools, libraries, parks, public housing sites and community-based organizations throughout the five boroughs. “The Summer Meals program is vital for so many families in our city and I encourage everyone 18 years and younger to come enjoy our healthy and delicious food,” said Deputy School Chancellor Elizabeth Rose. “Download our new SchoolFood Mobile App to find the location nearest you and eat breakfast and lunch all summer.”
“As we enter the dog days of summer, we are thrilled to see so many kids in New York utilizing the summer meals program and getting the nutritious meals they need to have a happy and healthy summer. We would like to thank Joe Girardi, Councilmembers Rosenthal and Levine, the Dairy Council, DOE, and all the partners for their continued support of the Free Summer Meals Program,” said Megan Cryan, NY Director, No Kid Hungry.
According to Harlem Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, “The City Council is deeply committed in our outreach efforts to inform all NYC families of this wonderful, free program. I want to thank my Council colleagues, the New York Yankees, the Department of Education, the advocates and our partners in government for teaming up to help increase awareness of this vital service so that every child in NYC has access to free meals.”
“This is the fifth year the American Dairy Association has teamed up with the NY Yankees to encourage families to take advantage of the nutritious foods and milk that are part of the summer meals program,” said Brenda Beltram, Public Relations Specialist with the Dairy Association. “It really makes an impact on kids when they hear someone like Joe Girardi tell them how important it is to choose nutritious foods.”
Summer meals sites serve breakfast weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Weekend lunch hours at pools and parks vary according to individual sites.
This year, parents have many ways to find nearby summer meals locations. Families can call 311, visit 311 online at www.nyc.gov/311, or visit the SchoolFood (www.schoolfoodnyc.org) or Share Our Strength (http://www.nokidhungry.org/summer) websites. Parents also may text “nycmeals” to 877-877, or visit the Parks Department website (http://www.nycgovparks.org/) for locations of parks and pools. This year, the DOE unveiled a brand new mobile app, which shows all Summer Meal sites and maps those closest to the user, and also provides daily menus. The free app, SchoolFood, can be downloaded on Apple and Android platforms.