City's free meals for kids are back for the summer with more than 1,200 locations
More locations and menu items have been added to the popular program, which served 7.6 million meals last year. Until Aug. 29, any child under 18 can go to 1,207 sites to get free breakfast or lunch.
BY Ben Chapman , Rikki Reyna , Stephen Rex Brown
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 11:20 PM
School's out for the summer — but free meals for kids are here to stay.
The city’s popular, free summer meals program is back, this time with more sites and tasty items on the menu. Until Aug. 29, any child under 18 can go to 1,207 sites to get free breakfast or lunch.
“I really like it!” said Miriam Santiago, 52, who was visiting a free-food site at Coalition School for Social Change in East Harlem with her two children.
“It helps me so much financially. It’s good, fresh, healthy food. I’m on a budget and without this for the kids I would be struggling.”
The food is doled out at a variety of locations, including public schools, NYCHA buildings, libraries and four food trucks. Roughly 500 of the sites don’t accept walk-ins because they cater to special-needs kids, according to Eric Goldstein, CEO of Food Services at the Education Department.
Dennis Pagan, 39, said the food giveaway was also a great way to meet neighbors.
“This comes in handy for those who need it, and it’s fun,” said Pagan, who brought his two daughters to the East Harlem school. “It's a great place to meet other parents and my kids can make new friends.”
Families can determine the closest free meal location by texting 877877 or visiting schoolfoodnyc.org. The city has also for the first time made robocalls alerting families to the program that started June 27.
Last summer, the city served a whopping 7.6 million meals — a testament to the program’s success.
“Some of our students, it’s the only meal they will have the entire day,” said Marian Osei-Boateng, a district supervisor of school food services in Brooklyn.
New additions to the menu include kale salad, blueberry granola, zucchini bread, grilled chicken dippers and strawberry mango frozen fruit chillers.
Families can determine the closest free meal location by texting 877877 or visiting schoolfoodnyc.org.
“We give the very best to our children; it’s a very healthy menu — you may think you’re in a first-class restaurant!” Osei-Boateng said.
Some of the most popular items are pancakes, omelets and bagels for breakfast.
The program is expected to cost $31 million, most of which is paid for by the Department of Agriculture.
The meals mean big savings for Emilio Perez, who also visited the Coalition School with his three nieces and nephew.
“Food is very costly,” said Perez, 30. “Over the summer, this program saves me $500 a month.”