DOE Kicks Off Summer Meals Program, Bringing Free, Nutritious Breakfast and Lunch to NYC Children

  • Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 Updated: Thu Apr 19, 2018

More than 7.5 million free, healthy meals will be distributed from June 29 to September 1 at nearly 1,100 sites in all 5 boroughs for students 18 years old and younger. Partnership with NYPD will bring summer meals to PAL Youth Police Academies PLAYSTREETS and Harmony Days

NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today launched the 2017 Summer Meals program, providing free, healthy breakfast and lunch from June 29 to September 1 at nearly 1,100 sites in all five boroughs.

Participation in the Summer Meals program does not require any form of identification or application, and all children 18 years old and younger are eligible to receive free meals. Sites span all five boroughs at nearly 1,100 locations, including schools, parks, pools, libraries and food trucks across the City. 

“Eating a nutritious breakfast and lunch is essential to a child’s development, and the Summer Meals program helps ensure students return to school in September focused and ready to learn,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This year, we are especially excited to partner with the NYPD to expand the program to PAL sites across the City, ensuring more students have access to the healthy meals they need.”

“The Summer Meals program offers easily accessible, healthy meals, and we encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose. “This year, we’re investing in more advertising and new partnerships to ensure we are reaching as many children across the City as possible.”

This year, the DOE is expanding its partnership with the NYPD to serve meals at locations hosting Police Athletic League (PAL) PLAYSTREETS and Youth Police Academies. PLAYSTREETS is a long-running PAL initiative offered for seven weeks over the summer that provides opportunities for children ages 6-16 to engage in organized physical activities at approximately 40 public spaces, while Youth Academies are six-week programs that give kids between the ages of 10 and 16 the opportunity to train with police officers during the summer. The Youth Academies will serve meals from July 5 to August 11, Monday through Friday, and PLAYSTREETS will serve meals from July 5 to August 10, Monday through Thursday.

“We’re very excited to expand our summer partnership with the DOE,” said Chief Joanne Jaffe, Chief of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. “The PAL and NYPD host a range of summer programs that serve tens of thousands of kids across the city, and this partnership is a commonsense way of ensuring our kids have access to healthy meals throughout the summer.”

The DOE is also serving Summer Meals at the NYPD’s Harmony Day Picnics, annual events held at the NYPD’s eight Patrol Boroughs that bring officers and young people together to participate in engaging activities that foster important community relationships. Over 10,000 children participate in these events each year.

This year, the DOE is also significantly increasing outreach through a new partnership with the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU), which will run on-the-ground outreach for the Summer Meals program. The PEU uses a data-driven approach to connect New Yorkers with the various resources they need and ran similar outreach campaigns at the start of the Pre-K for All and IDNYC initiatives. The PEU will focus its efforts on districts 3, 7, 8, 9, 20 and 25.

“Access to free, nutritious meals, especially for those who may otherwise go without, is vital to raising healthy children and families,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The Summer Meals program is a lifeline for thousands of Brooklynites, but it is only as effective as our shared ability to spread the word and reach every child who can benefit from a healthful breakfast or lunch.”

“The Free Summer Meals program, available across Manhattan this summer, is a crucial element in the fight against childhood hunger, but the program only helps if families know about it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Every year my office creates and distributes detailed flyers in multiple languages, with neighborhood-specific Summer Meals sites listed. We look forward to working together with SchoolFood so students and parents know where to go for healthy, free meals over the summer.”

“I encourage all parents to take advantage of this program,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The summer meals program is a great help for those families struggling to offer healthy food to their kids during the summer vacation months I want to thank the DOE and the New York Police Department and the PAL for their collaboration to the summer meals program.”

“The expansion of the summer meals program is essential for our students,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “I will continue to advocate for more sites at our schools, libraries and tenant associations.”

“Although school is out for the summer, it is absolutely critical that we continue to support our youth outside the classroom,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Too often, children and young adults are skipping meals or eating unhealthily for numerous reasons, including the possibility that their families are struggling with food security. During the school year, DOE does a great job of working with schools across the City to ensure that food security is not an obstacle to a child's learning, and now, with the launch of the 2017 Summer Meals program, these children and young adults will have a chance to experience summer programs to the fullest. Thank you to Chancellor Fariña and the DOE for implementing this important program.”

“Free programs like Summer Meals are essential in the fight against childhood hunger in NYC. For many of the working families in my district who depend on the city’s free or reduced lunch program, there is no question that we must continue to give our kids access to nutritious meals -- regardless of whether or not school is in session," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "I am proud to announce that this summer, District 1 will have 10 Summer Meals sites open to all children under 18, with no ID or application required. I will do all that I can to spread the word to the families who now will not need to worry about feeding their children this summer.”

For the second year in a row, the DOE will roll out an extensive advertising campaign in collaboration with the New York State Department of Education to promote Summer Meals and ensure families across the City are aware of this incredible program. The campaign features branding and designs in English and Spanish that will appear in ads on subways and bus shelters; in community, ethnic and online news outlets; and will also be displayed on the outside of the food trucks that will be providing meals at various locations. Volunteers from partner organizations will also go door to door and hand out flyers in 10 languages to spread awareness of the program.

“The Summer Meals program offers healthy meal options to children across the City,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the Office of School Support Services, which oversees SchoolFood. “This year, students have access to a wide variety of nutritious meals, ranging from hamburgers, to locally made yogurt, and new chicken wraps.”

This year’s summer breakfast menu features whole grain bagels, assorted egg sandwiches, New York yogurt and New York yogurt parfaits along with organic cereal and seasonal fresh fruit.  The summer lunch menu features our Freshly-Made Personal Flatbread Pizza, 100% Beef Burgers, Classic & BBQ Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Assorted Cold Wraps, New York Apples and our Kid Friendly Kale Salad. Daily menus and location details are available on the SchoolFood app and SchoolFood website

In 2016, 7.5 million meals were served, a significant increase from the 7.1 million meals served in the summer of 2012. The annual cost of the program is approximately $7 million and the nutritious meals meet and exceed the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrition Standards for School Meals.

“Thanks to this program, kids across the entire City will have access to free, nutritious meals throughout the entire summer, ensuring that they can remain active and healthy and enjoy their summers,” said Megan Cryan, New York Director, No Kid Hungry.

Summer Meals are available from Monday to Friday, with breakfast served from 8:00am to 9:15am and lunch served from 11:00am to 1:15pm. To learn more, find a nearby Summer Meals location or access daily menus at:

Check the SchoolFood app or visit the SchoolFood website.

Call 311 or visit the 311 website.

Visit the Share Our Strength website.

Text “nycmeals” to 877-877

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