The old saying goes “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” But that is not the case for New York City school children this summer.
The city Department of Education, with the help of a federal grant, will be providing children under the age of 18 with free lunches, and breakfast as well, at 76 different locations around Queens and a total of 1,000 locations citywide, including schools, libraries, parks, soup kitchens and a public housing sites. The program began June 28 and runs weekdays through Aug 31. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Mobile refrigerated food trucks will be on hand for lunch seven days a week at Flushing Meadows Park and will be parked on 111th Street near the entrance to the Queens Zoo.
A full menu is available that includes breakfast favorites such as pancakes, scrambled eggs and bagels and lunch items including barbecue chicken, carrots, chicken tender salad and a cold vegetable stew.
“This is a great opportunity for families who want to spend time at a city pool or parks and have a meal free of charge that is nutritious and delicious,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
The DOE’s free summer meals program has been around for more than 30 years and is operated by the agency’s Office of School Food. This year DOE is partnering with Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit focused on eliminating childhood hunger. The program is open to children 18 years-old or younger and to take part, a child does not need to be a public school student or even a resident of New York City.
For more information on exact locations, parents can call 311, text “nycmeals” to 877877 or search by ZIP code, school, or school district at the DOE website, schools.nyc.gov. Information is also available on Share Our Strength’s and the Mayor’s Food Police Coordinator’s websites.