The federal Summer Meals Program provides free breakfast and lunch to all children under the age of 19 when school is out. Although this program has existed in NYC for several decades, with meals offered at schools and other neighborhood locations, the program continues to be largely underutilized. In NYC, there are approximately one million children from low-income families. However this program reaches only 15% of those children each year.
During the school year and particularly during the summer months, CFA partners with other advocates and the Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood to maximize participation and ensure that the program meets the needs of communities. Specifically this partnership focuses on conducting outreach to parents and families in the five boroughs, identifying gaps in services, and identifying additional Summer Meals sites in neighborhoods where there is a high need for the Program.
CFA plays an active role in strengthening the reach and effectiveness of the Summer Meals Program and conducts intensive, on the ground outreach; monitors and collects information on Summer Meals sites to assess how well the program is meeting the needs of communities; and works with government and advocacy groups to produce innovative recommendations to increase program participation based on robust data analysis, site visits, and field-based interviews.