2011-07-08 / Community

Free School Meals Available

School Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, joined by City agencies and non-profit organizations, announced outreach initiatives to notify families with children 18 years old and younger about the City’s annual summer meals program, which provides nutritious and tasty meals at no charge. These initiatives include “A Day of Outreach,” scheduled for July 16 when volunteers will distribute postcards, posters and information about summer meals in key locations across the city such as playgrounds, community centers and laundromats. Summer meals are available now through Friday, September 2 at more than 1,000 locations, including pools, schools, libraries, parks, public housing sites, and soup kitchens throughout the five boroughs. The Chancellor made the announcement at PS 20 on the Lower East Side. He was joined by the Mayor’s Food Policy Advisor Kimberly Kessler, Billy Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, and representatives from City agencies and other nonprofits.

The City is coordinating outreach efforts with various nonprofits, including Share Our Strength, a national organization that combats childhood hunger, City Harvest, Food Bank, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and Citizens Committee for Children, to notify as many families as possible about free meals for their children. Share Our Strength has printed a million cards and posters that will be distributed in more than 350 locations such as Human Resource Administration’s job centers, Health and Hospital Corporation’s community outreach centers,

City Housing Authority sites, libraries, and Department of Parks and Recreation’s centers. The information is multilingual. In addition, Share Our Strength has created public service announcements with NY Knicks Guard Chauncey Billups that lets families know when meals are served and advises them to call 311 for a location close to them. 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. In an effort to make the summer meals even more accessible and convenient, the Department of Education’s Office of School- Food is operating two refrigerated food trucks it received under a $250,000 grant from Walmart.

“The outreach initiatives are part of the City’s ongoing commitment to feed our children nutritious meals yearround,” Walcott said. “We have galvanized more than a dozen City agencies and nonprofits such as Share Our Strength to distribute information throughout the five boroughs to let families know free meals are available for their children. This is a great deal, a nutritious breakfast and lunch every day during the summer, and the meals are free.”

This summer’s menu includes many longtime favorites such as pancakes, scrambled eggs, bagels with cream cheese, yogurt, barbecue-roasted chicken, whole grain pasta, crunchy carrots, “confetti” corn salad, chicken tenders salad, and a cold vegetable stew with zucchini, corn, tomato, and basil. All the meals provided are reported to be low in fat, low in sodium, and prepared without artificial colors or sweeteners.

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