Addressing the needs of low-income, food-insecure school children who rely on their school meal programs but often don’t get enough to eat during the summer months is the goal of Island Harvest Food Bank’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SFSP, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides a source of nourishment during the summer recess.
Through the SFSP, Island Harvest Food Bank will deliver a mix of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, Monday through Friday at 30 program sites that are run by municipal agencies, summer camps, day camps, churches, and community organizations. The food bank expects to serve approximately 165,000 meals to 3,000 children at locations across Long Island until Sept. 2.
In addition to the SFSP, Island Harvest Food Bank is supporting four school districts with “grab and go” drive-through meal distributions. The food bank will be serving meals in the Central Islip, Glen Cove, South Country, and Patchogue-Medford school districts. Supplemental food support for families attending the distributions can access fresh produce, meat, and milk, when available.
According to Feeding America, the nation’s leading anti-hunger organization, approximately one-in-six, or 12 million children in the United States are at risk of not getting enough food to eat each day. Locally, Island Harvest Food Bank estimates that 100,000 children depend on their school’s breakfast and lunch programs during the school year, but face an increased risk of food insecurity when the summer recess begins.
Island Harvest Food Bank worked with several school districts to address the nutritional needs of low-income children during the COVID-19 crisis. Among the initiatives have included “grab and go” meal programs, and weekly food distributions for families struggling to put food on their tables because of the economic calamity brought on by the pandemic, and the region’s high cost of living.
Meals are provided at the sites without charge, to all children 18 years and younger. Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. For a complete list of open Summer Food Service Program sites on Long Island, visit islandharvest.org, or refer to the attached list. For more information, call Allison Puglia, VP of Programs and Agency Relations at Island Harvest Food Bank at 631-873-4775, or email her at email@example.com.