DOE offering free breakfast, lunch as part of Summer Meals program

Grab-and-go meals being offered out of Queens via a past Summer Meals program. This year, the initiative returns with pick-up sites across the borough, including at the Flatbush and Cortelyou Brooklyn Public Library branches.
Queens Together

The city’s Department of Education is hoping to keep young adults fed throughout the summer with its free summer meals program. The initiative, which kicked off Tuesday, will offer free breakfast and lunch to anyone 18 years or younger through Friday, Sept. 2.

According to the department, prior registration additional ID or documentation is not required to receive the nutrition-based meals, which are a part of an ongoing program to increase equity across the city.

“Breakfast and lunch meals reflect the NYC Department of Education’s commitment to the highest standard of nutrition. Our meals meet or exceed U.S. Department of Agriculture standards and do not use food additives such as artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives,” reads an explanation of the program on the Department of Education’s website. “We offer a variety of fresh fruit, whole grains, vegetables, and salads for children to enjoy.”

Nelson Quiles, who serves as the chief of staff for the department’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services, says the agency is both excited and proud to begin the annual program.

“We look at this program as something that’s essential to our youth of New York city. To provide the youth with access to a healthy, nutritious meal particularly during the summer months while school is not in session is something we take very seriously. We’re incredibly proud to be able to offer breakfast and lunch to all the youth in New York city throughout the summer,” said Quiles. “It wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of all of our dedicated service workers.”

With various pick-up locations across each borough, students can easily access food for the entire summer with the exception of Monday, July 4. Sites include public schools, parks and community centers.

In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Flatbush and Cortelyou branches are excited to partner with local schools as part of the program. Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson Fritzi Bodenheimer said the institution has participated in the summer program for several years now, and the branches typically see great turnout.

“The Library partners with the city on numerous initiatives,” she said. “We have over 62 locations throughout the borough with our libraries serving at the center or as the town square of many communities so we are uniquely positioned to help with programs like this.”

Bodenheimer expects community response this year to be positive, as locals have enjoyed the program in the past.

“In 2019, the last summer not interrupted by the pandemic, we served over 26,000 meals,” she said. “In addition, librarians work to schedule children and teen programming around the same time lunches are being picked up.”

Halal locations and food trucks will also be available throughout the borough. 

For more information or to find a pick-up spot near you, visit the Department of Education’s Summer Meals landing page.


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