“Keep Kids Fed Act” Extends Funding for Free Meals for Children
Summer Food Service Program Provides 400,000 Free Meals Daily
USDA Online Map Tool Shows Locations Where Meals are Served
The 2022 Summer Food Service Program, providing free meals to approximately 400,000 young people at parks, pools, libraries, camps, and schools in communities across the state, kicks off in July at nearly 3,000 sites statewide, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. An interactive USDA online map helps families search for a service site by address, city, or zip code.
Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Summer Food Service is indispensable, especially now, when so many families are struggling with financial uncertainty. No child should go hungry, and these programs give young people reassurance of when their next meal is coming. Ensuring consistent access to nutritious meals helps children grow and thrive all year long and reduces the stress of food insecurity for many families across New York.”
Commissioner Rosa said, “Our Summer Food Service Program fills an important void created when school meals are unavailable, and many children would otherwise go hungry. By providing students with fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other healthy food throughout the summer, we set them up for success when they return to school in the fall. This essential service is made possible by many local programs, and I thank them for their commitment to serving our most vulnerable students.”
Studies have shown that access to nutritious food during summer break benefits children’s health, education, and food security. Inadequate nutrition can have developmental consequences for children, including lower academic performance, social and emotional difficulties like anxiety and depression, and a higher risk for chronic illnesses like anemia or diabetes. Young people may also have the opportunity to interact with other children their age and participate in free activities at program sites.
About the Summer Food Service Program:
- Statewide, over 400 organizations will serve nutritious meals every day.
- Summer meal sites offer nutritious, healthy meals for children, often with fresh, locally sourced produce.
- There are approximately 3,000 Summer Food Service Program feeding sites throughout the State.
- It is anticipated that more than 20 million nutritious meals will be served to New York children this summer.
The passage last week of the Keep Kids Fed Act(link is external) extends federal funding to support Child Nutrition Program operators during Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023. It allows operators to provide meals at registered sites, and “grab and go” meals. The Department will continue to disseminate Keep Kids Fed Act guidance as it becomes available from the USDA.
Most New York sponsors begin operating Summer Food Service Programs in July. There are several tools available to help find the site nearest you:
- USDA Online Map
- Text: Text “Food or “Comida” to 304-304