Ensuring No Child Goes Hungry During Summer: NYC Summer Meals Programs
For many students the end of the school year and the onset of summer signal that it’s a time to play outside, hang out with friends, and enjoy a respite from homework, tests and presentations. For a significant number of children in New York, however, it is also a time when food insecurity rears its ugly head, begging the question — where’s lunch?
New York has joined other cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit in providing free meals to public school children throughout the school year, helping to serve the country’s 30 million students who rely on their schools for at least one meal a day. In New York City, more than a million public school students have access to free meals during the school year. In the summer, however, those meals disappear leaving the most vulnerable students hungry.
Fortunately, the Department of Education has a plan for providing Summer Meals.
Last week, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced that, from June 27 to August 30, the 2019 Summer Meals Program will offer free and nutritious breakfast and lunch options to children aged 18 and under at approximately 1,200 sites across the city.
This program closes what is known as the summer nutrition gap –– a time when children and families struggle to find nutritious meals to replace the food given to them in school.
The Department of Education is working to get the word out about the program by sending information to all city public schools in envelopes that the schools can send home with their students before the end of the school year. All information will be made available in the 10 DOE languages.
Below we do our own part by outlining the necessary details and information about this year’s program. As summer approaches, help us spread the word about the NYC Summer Meals Program to ensure that no child goes hungry and all kids have access to healthy meals during the summer months.
Start Date: June 27th
End Date: August 31st
Days without service: July 4th and August 21st
Who is eligible: Anyone who is 18 years or younger. No ID, registration, or documentation will be necessary to receive free meals.
Locations: The Summer Meals Program is available at hundreds of public schools, community pool centers, libraries, and other locations around the city. To find a library, school, park, pool or other Summer Meals spot near you, visit schoolfoodnyc.org or download the SchoolFood mobile app, which includes daily menus and other information in 10 languages.
In addition to the on-site locations throughout the city, this year there will also be food trucks serving meals throughout the summer. Locations have not yet been released, but those interested should visit the Summer Meals website as the end of the school year nears.
Types of Meals Served: The aim of the program is to provide not just food but nutritious and healthy food for breakfast (whole grain bagels; assorted egg sandwiches; yogurt; organic cereal and seasonal fresh fruit) and lunch (freshly-made personal flatbread pizzas; assorted cold deli sandwiches; 100 percent beef burgers; classic and BBQ crispy chicken sandwiches; assorted cold wraps; NY apples and kid-friendly kale salads).
How to find out more about the program:
- Visit the Summer Meals website
- Download the official SchoolFood app, available at the App Store or Google Play
- Text “nycmeals” or “comida” to 877-877
- Call 311 or visit the 311 website: www.nyc.gov/311 and search “summer meals”
More reading about summer school meals and the nutrition gap
- Here’s how New York City students can get free meals this summer (Eyewitness News)
- Hunger doesn’t take a vacation (Food Research and Action Committee)
- Libraries are Bridging the Summer Gap for Hungry Kids (Civil Eats)
- NYC Food by the Numbers: Summer Meals (NYC Food Policy Center)
- Share Our Strength: Summer Meals (No Kid Hungry)
- Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger (City Harvest)
- Study Shows Children More Likely To Face Hunger Than Overall Population Across America (Feeding America)
- 30 million children rely on free school lunch. Where do they eat when school’s out? (New Food Economy)