Feeding Westchester Gears Up for Summer Feeding Program

School is out for summer, and Feeding Westchester is gearing up for its Summer Feeding Program. During the school year, more than 54,000 Westchester County school kids up to age 18 rely on free or low-cost meals to provide their nutritional needs.  

“When the academic year ends, children lose access to these meals – and miss out on essential nutrition that helps them grow and thrive,” said Karen C. Erren, President & CEO of Feeding Westchester. “Hunger doesn’t stop when school ends.” 

How to Participate in the Summer Feeding Program 

To fill the hunger gap over the summer break, Feeding Westchester, in partnership with more than a dozen community partners and programs, offers a Summer Feeding Program.

The program, which runs in July and August, provides free healthy meals and snacks to children who would normally get meals during the school day as part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program.  

Through Feeding Westchester’s extensive hunger-relief network of local community partners and programs, families can access Summer Feeding Program meals close to home at summer camps, through local community organizations and at community-based food distribution hubs. 

Here is how eligible families can participate in the following Summer Feeding Program: 

Child Nourishment Bag Program – A bag of 5-6 non-perishable goods, such as shelf-stable boxed milk, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, rice and canned soup and stews, will be distributed twice a month to children and families through the following summer camps and community organizations: 

  1. Camp Hope (New Rochelle) 
  2. The Carver Center (Port Chester) 
  3. The Family Resource Center (Peekskill) 
  4. Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club 
  5. Yonkers Community Action Program – Summer Leadership Program
  6. Yonkers Riverfront Library 

More local organizations are expected to be added to the list in the coming weeks. 

The Child Nourishment Bag program is a partnership among Feeding Westchester, ARC Mount Kisco, ARC Yonkers and Ability Beyond in Chappaqua, as part of its vocational skills-building program. Feeding Westchester also partners with the Greenburgh Police Youth Camp to build a sense of community among its youth members. Feeding Westchester donates the food, and participants in the programs assemble and deliver up to 750 bags each week to summer camps and community-based organizations. Distributions will begin on July 10.  

Feeding United Home Deliveries Program – Through a partnership with the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, a fresh produce bag will be distributed through DoorDash volunteer drivers 3-4 times a month to qualified children and families that live within a 15-mile radius of three Feeding Westchester food distribution hubs – in Mount Vernon, Ossining and Peekskill. This program is for families with school-aged children that qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Families can register here: www.uwwp.org/food. Distributions will begin on July 12.  

Summer Food Service Program – In addition to the services offered by Feeding Westchester, children also can participate in the USDA NY-state program called Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Children, regardless of family income, can get free healthy meals and snacks at various locations throughout Westchester County For a full list of summer meal locations, go to http://summermealsny.org Families can call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or text FOOD 304-304 to get connected to meal sites in their area.

Ways to Help Fight Hunger this Summer 

“Summer is an especially difficult time for hard-working families and their children, thousands of whom depend on the breakfast and lunch they receive at their school during the academic year. This summer, the high cost of food adds another layer of challenge,” said Erren. “We are so grateful that, due to the generosity of our community. We can stand alongside partners throughout the county to ensure children have nutritious food in their bellies.” 

There are many ways for the community to support the Summer Feeding Program and help nourish our neighbors. People can donate or fundraise. Just $1 can provide three meals through the program. Community members also can volunteer their time at home to put together “Help from Home” snack bags, which are distributed through the program. For more details of how to get involved, go here. 

For more information on Feeding Westchester’s Summer Feeding Program, contact Christopher McGregor at cmcgregor@feedingwestchester.org or 914-418-5206

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