From June 27 to September 4, nearly 1,100 parks, schools, libraries, food trucks and other sites across the City will provide free summer meals to children 18 years old and younger. For the first time, parents and young people can use a convenient mobile app to locate the nearest summer meals site and access daily menus
NEW YORK – The Department of Education (DOE) today announced that the 2015 Summer Meals program, which provides free, healthy breakfast and lunch to children across New York City, will begin this Saturday, June 27, the first day of summer vacation. Children don’t need to be enrolled in summer school to participate in the Summer Meals program and no application or identification is required.
This year, the DOE’s Office of SchoolFood 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. From June 27 through September 4, the Summer Meals program will serve children 18 and younger — regardless of New York City residency — at roughly 1,100 locations, including pools, schools, libraries, parks, public housing sites, and community-based organization sites. Last year, a record 8.1 million meals were served, an increase from the 7.6 million meals served during the previous summer.
To promote summer meals, the DOE has launched an extensive advertising campaign, targeting buses, subways and for the first time “station domination” ads at the 125th Street/Lexington Avenue subway station in Manhattan and Barclays Center/Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Volunteers from partner organizations will also go door to door and hand out flyers in 10 languages to spread awareness of the program.
This summer’s menu includes new items such as blueberry pancakes, yogurt and granola, and cheese omelet with salsa, along with longtime favorites like roasted chicken, beef tacos, black bean and corn salad, and fresh watermelon. All meals are low in fat and sodium and prepared without artificial colors or sweeteners.
“Eating healthy meals is critical for a child’s development and by providing free, accessible breakfast and lunch for children of all ages, we are helping to continue good habits over the summer and offering a vital service to families throughout our city,” said Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We encourage all children to take advantage of this important service.”
“Free summer meals re a crucially important part of our efforts to combat inequity and ensure young people have access to healthy food,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “This program provides an invaluable service to busy families throughout New York City who can rest assured there are free healthy food choices for their children.”
“Summer Meals are an important resource for many families and I encourage everyone 18 years and younger to enjoy our healthy food,” said Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose. “We have made these sites convenient and easy to find and I look forward to seeing children from across the City eating breakfast and lunch all summer.”
To kick off the Summer Meals program, NBA draftees were on hand to promote healthy eating and staying active with an NBA FIT clinic for students from the Graphics Campus in Manhattan. Share our Strength, a national non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America, is working hand-in-hand with the City and the NBA to connect kids in New York City to healthy food.
“Whether a child has enough to eat shouldn’t depend on the calendar,” said Josh Wachs, Chief Strategy Officer at Share Our Strength. “We want every child in New York City to get the nutritious lunch they need every day of the year.”
Summer Meals sites will 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. In an effort to make the program even more accessible and convenient, pools, parks and some libraries will be open seven days a week, while school sites will be open Monday through Friday. Summer Meals food trucks will be open for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday to Friday at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and seven days a week at the Queens Zoo parking lot at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Corona Plaza at Roosevelt Ave. and 103rd St. in Queens and the Rivington Playground at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Weekend lunch hours at pools and parks vary by site.
In addition to the new app, parents and children have many other ways to find nearby Summer Meals locations. Families can call 311, visit 311 online at visit 311 online, or visit the SchoolFood website or Share Our Strength Share our Strength website. Parents also may text “nycmeals” to 877-877, or visit the Parks Department website Parks Department website for locations of parks and pools.
“Summer Meals is fully funded by the federal government: all we need to do is get the word out, and we can provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for every child in New York,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “As recently as 2010, more than one in every five children in New York lived in a food-insecure household, so the need is real. We need to work together to inform and encourage every family that can benefit from this program to take advantage.”
“Having healthy and nutritious meals available throughout the summer provides consistency for our children and helps them stay ready for the new academic year in the fall,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. “This program is vitally important and I applaud the Department of Education for its efforts.”