When school lets out for the summer, thousands of children lose access to free and low-cost school breakfast and lunch. While free meals are available to all children over the summer at sites citywide — including schools, parks, pools, community centers and libraries — through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP, also known as Summer Meals), too many families do not access it. To increase awareness and participation in Summer Meals, the Food Bank partners with the Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood to engage our citywide network of approximately 1,000 community-based member programs.
The loss of access to school meals is evident at many food pantries and soup kitchens, where participation among children rises once school lets out. To combat increased summertime need, the Food Bank recruits soup kitchens and food pantries to distribute Summer Meals to children at their sites. Food Bank assists participating food assistance programs with community outreach and activities to promote participation, and facilitates implementation.
In addition, Food Bank supplies information about SFSP, and the locations of SFSP sites to our network of food assistance programs, sparking a vast outreach effort within New York City’s low-income neighborhoods.