The 2022 Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals to approximately 400,000 young people at parks, pools, libraries, camps and schools in communities across the state, kicks off in July on nearly 3 000 sites statewide. An interactive USDA online map helps families find a service site by address, city or zip code.
Studies have shown that having access to nutritious food during summer vacation benefits children’s health, education and food security. Inadequate nutrition can have consequences for children’s development, including lower academic performance, social and emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression, and a higher risk of chronic diseases such as anemia or diabetes. Youth may also have the opportunity to interact with other children their age and participate in free activities at program sites.
The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure that low-income children aged 18 and under receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level, and the New York State Department of Education administers it at the state level.