New York Daily News highlights Maloney's efforts to boost summer meals program
The city has doled out a whopping 4.4 million free summer meals so far — an 11% increase from last year.
The wildly popular breakfasts and lunches are available to any kids until Aug. 29 at more than 1,200 sites around the city.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who visited a handful of the locations Saturday, said more kids need to be aware of the program.
“In this prosperous country of ours, we have to make sure our young men and women have healthy options,” said Maloney (D-Manhattan). “The lunches are really great. Corn salad, a nice sandwich, fresh fruit — they are nice, nutritious meals.”
She cited research that low-income families spend an average of $300 a month on food in the summer — a sizeable expense that can be greatly reduced by the free meals.
Kids had enjoyed 4,386,896 of the meals as of July 25, according to Education Department data. Last year, 3,940,374 free meals were given out in the same period.
The food is available at many public swimming pools, public schools, NYCHA buildings and libraries.
Maloney said roughly 800 meals are distributed at McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn every day.
Families can determine the closest free meal location by visitingschoolfoodnyc.org.
City officials expect the program, which is designed to replace the subsidized lunches provided when school is in session, will cost $31 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture foots most of the bill.
“During the school year, the only decent meal some children will receive all day is the one provided by the free lunch program,” Maloney said.
“That need doesn’t disappear just because school isn’t in session.”
She added that the menu has greatly improved over previous years.
“Whole-grain breads, fresh fruit, fresh salad, plums, chicken salad sandwiches — it’s just delicious.” Maloney said. “No more peanut butter and jelly!”