When school is out during the summer months, thousands of children lose access to free and low-cost school breakfast and lunch. Without access to free and reduced-price school meals, food costs in the summer rise significantly for many families. This loss of access to school meals is evident at many food pantries and soup kitchens, where participation among children rises once school lets out. The free Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) – commonly known as Summer Meals – provides free breakfasts and lunches throughout New York City to all children 18 years old or younger. Summer Meals are served at schools, parks, pools, community centers, libraries, food pantries and soup kitchens throughout New York City. Meals are prepared and supplied by the NYC Department of Education’s Office of School Food through funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
To increase participation in Summer Meals, Food Bank For New York City partners with the Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood to engage our citywide network of approximately 1,000 community-based member programs. Food Bank informs agencies about the Summer Meals program, provides outreach and referral materials to inform and serve their communities, and recruits member agencies to participate as Summer Meals distribution sites.
In addition, Food Bank supplies information about Summer Meals and the locations of sites to our network of food assistance programs, along with links to Summer Meals locator. In a city-wide effort to increase participation in Summer Meals, Food Bank partners with various city and community organizations to plan and coordinate outreach, events and public awareness campaigns to ensure that New York City’s children do not go hungry during the summer.