School’s closing for the summer. For many kids, summer can be a scary time as the free and reduced-price school lunches they depend on aren’t there. But the state, working with not-for-profit organizations, does provide meals during the summer months through the federally-funded Summer Food Service program. A press release today from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office today provides some really useful information: An interactive map of places where qualified people can go and receive free meals and snacks.
Here’s a link to the map — there are sites in many North Country communities, including (but definitely not limited to) Watertown, Malone, Massena, Ticonderoga, and Gouverneur. People can also call The New York State Department of Health’s Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 to help find a summer meal site in their community.
More information on the program:
The federally-funded Summer Food Service Program, administered by the New York State Education Department, provides free nutritious meals and snacks at participating sites, including schools, parks, recreation centers and other neighborhood locations. The program benefits children 18 years old and younger from low-income households, as well as to young adults over age 18 that are enrolled in school programs for persons with disabilities.
Approximately 400,000 children a day will receive meals through the program this summer. Many summer meal sites also offer fun activities, so children and teens can stay active and spend time with friends while enjoying healthy meals.
A recent study by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) notes that while the number of New York students participating in the program last year increased five percent over 2012; only an estimated three out of ten eligible students are being fed.