2010-07-09 / Community

Free Summer Meals, Big Apple Games Start

The New York City Department of Education announced a joint kick-off of its annual summer meals program and the Big Apple Games, a recreational program for children. Both programs are free. The summer meals program provides meals throughout the summer to New York City children 18 years old and younger. The Big Apple Games offer activities for children eight years old and older.

Summer meals launched on Tuesday, June 29 and will run through Friday, August 27. Breakfast and lunch will be served at various pools, schools, libraries, parks, public housing sites, and soup kitchens throughout the five boroughs. In total, meals will be available at more than 1,000 locations citywide. The Big Apple Games will offer activities at Far Rockaway High School from Tuesday, July 6 through Thursday, August 12. The afternoon teen center will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Far Rockaway, which is located at 8-21 Bay 25 Street in Bayswater.

The Department of Education’s Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), which oversees high school varsity and junior varsity competitive sports during the school year, runs the Big Apple Games.

This summer, the Big Apple Games will include basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, football, soccer, lacrosse, cross country, track and field, and arts and crafts programs. Children can register daily at each site during the six-week program, which will also provide free breakfast and lunch to participants.

In an effort to make the summer meals program even more accessible and convenient, the Department this year will operate two mobile refrigerated trucks that, for the first time, will deliver meals directly to playgrounds and beaches where many families congregate. One of the mobile trucks, operated by Share Our Strength®, a national organization that combats childhood hunger, will stop at 12 playgrounds throughout the City.

The other truck, operated by the Department’s Office of SchoolFood, will operate at Coney Island, Rockaway, and Orchard Beaches. These locations were selected because they traditionally draw large crowds. Breakfast is served from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. This summer’s menu includes many long-time favorites such as pancakes, scrambled eggs, bagels with yogurt cream cheese, tacos, barbecue-roasted chicken, corner-style pizza, crunchy carrots, “confetti” corn salad, chicken tenders salad, and a cold vegetable stew with zucchini, corn, tomato and basil.

All the meals provided are low in fat, low in sodium, and prepared without artificial colors or sweeteners. The Department’s summer meals program, which is administered by the Office of SchoolFood, has been operating for more than 30 years.Last year, more than 30,000 children citywide participated in the programSelect sites will also be offering programming for children with special needs. Certified teachers and school safety officers will be on-site at all programs.

For more information on locations for summer meals, families can call 311.

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