The New York City Department of Education serves over 700,000 free meals to children every day during the school year. These meals, which include breakfast and lunch, are vital to families struggling to keep their children fed and healthy. But what happens when school lets out for the summer?
Many eligible families don’t know about the federally funded Summer Meals Program offered across the city. This crucial resource provides free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches to children 18 and younger at convenient sites across the city – with the added benefit of seven-day services and four mobile food trucks.
According to the Food Bank for New York City's 2013 Hunger Safety Net Report, two-thirds of parents participating in the city’s emergency food programs didn’t take advantage of Summer Meals because they were unaware of its existence or hadn’t received details from schools about where and when to take their kids for meals. That’s why for the past four years, volunteers and staff from our office fan out to dozens of schools with custom-made flyers to distribute information about the Summer Meals program to parents and educators.
Late in 2017, Borough President Brewer and then-Council Member James Vacca passed a new law requiring the Department of Education to distribute this information by June 1, before exams and graduations begin, when students are still in class. In 2018, the Department met this deadline, and responded to a request from our office for information to be available in more languages.
The Summer Meals program runs from June 27 – August 31 at participating public schools, community pool centers, New York City Housing Authority complexes, public libraries, and other locations around the city. If you live in Manhattan and your children are eligible to receive free Summer Meals, there are several ways to find a location near you:
- Download one of the flyers below. Flyers are in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
- Use our interactive map to find the Summer Meals location nearest to you.
- Search online using the Summer Meals Locator.
Click the graphics above to find a summer meals site location near you!
Information from the DOE’s SchoolFood Office
Information from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service