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NYC Reaching Out To Feed Children Over The Summer

By Debra Myers     Jul 10, 2007 in Health
School's out. This means children are home, and chances are, most families are going through two to three times the amount of groceries per week then when the children are in school. Certain school districts across the US are doing their best to help.
New York City - In an all out effort to fight anti-hunger and to provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches, NYC has expanded their Summer free breakfast and lunch programs to find kids where they hang out: church groups, libraries, community organizations, housing projects and even playgrounds. Previously, their scope only reached to the school areas, pools, and parks...and were mostly handed out at the public schools.
The New York Times article says, "The sheer logistics are impressive. It takes more than 7,800 employees and 99 school kitchens to prepare the meals, and 84 trucks to deliver them. This year, the city expects to increase the number of locations where food is served to 1,166, from 966 last summer."
To give you an idea of the phenomenal numbers of meals served, Los Angeles served 142,000 breakfasts and 320,000 lunches just last Summer! And their own program is not as big as the one that is happening in NYC at this time! "[NYC] Education Department officials say they expect to significantly exceed last summer’s totals of 4.4 million lunches and 2 million breakfasts."
This program is funded by the federal government at a rate of $1.66 for each breakfast and $2.91 for each lunch served. NYC contributes another $5 million.
This program is a big help to those families that are low income, who already have a hard time making food dollars last. One in five of those who receive a free meal during the school year are some of the ones who get free meals during the Summer. However, the free meals are open to every child from 18 and under, regardless of what their parent's incomes might be.
"Today, many schoolchildren in New York are still lacking basic nutrition, a fact that city officials say they want to correct. The school system has hired Jorge Leon Collazo as the first executive chef of the New York City public schools, and he has tried out a healthier, low-fat menu, with items like turkey burgers and Swiss chard.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has made nutrition a major issue, from the city’s recent trans-fat ban to a program to encourage bodegas in low-income areas to offer healthier products like low-fat milk and fresh vegetables. Lunches provided by the Education Department might include a ham and cheese wrap with lettuce and tomato; a stew made of zucchini, corn, tomato and basil; or coleslaw and an assortment of fresh fruit. Breakfasts are often made up of mini sweet-potato pancakes with syrup; strips of turkey bacon; or an orange-cranberry muffin and fruit juice. Whole milk is banned. Chocolate milk is skim only."
I'm impressed with the quality of the free foods offered! I think this is great for kids, and I hope that parents are taking the opportunity to let their children participate.
Here's an additional piece of trivia:
"It has been nearly 100 years since a New York City public school served its first lunch — a hearty plate of hot pasta with three slices of bread — in a Little Italy elementary school in 1909, for a cost of 3 cents. (Fruit and cocoa cost an extra penny or two.)"
More about Public Schools, Summer, Soup kitchens
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