When I think back on summers growing up as a child in New York City I remember eating and enjoying summer meals with my friends and family. I didn’t realize that my family and community were the target audience for Summer Meals. There was plenty of food in my house, and my family and I were hardly hungry for meals. However, since I lived in a low-income community, we were the target population for the summer meals program- whether our pantries at home were stocked with food or empty with dust.
I enjoyed summer meals because it was a different spin on school lunch. I appreciated the subtle changes made to meals that recognized the summer season. For example, children were given the drink option of orange juice as well as the standard milk and sometimes fruit pops or ices were given as dessert. The Summer Meals program is a great way for children who consume the majority of their meals at school to continue to get healthy meals even when school is out and they no longer have access to school lunch. The highlight of it all was being able to enjoy a balanced lunch with my friends from school while enjoying the freedom of summer.
Fortunately the Summer Meals program continues today, and free lunch and breakfast is available for all children in New York City. To find out more about participating Summer Meals sites in your neighborhood call 311 or text “NYCMeals” to 877-877.