DUTCHESS COUNTY – For many kids, summer vacation comes with a thrill of anticipation. Weeks stretch ahead filled with dreams of bike rides, swimming pools, family vacations and long, lazy days hanging with friends.
For millions of kids in America, however, it’s a much different story. For kids living in low-income families struggling to put food on the table, summer’s bright promise has been replaced with worry, anxiety and the threat of hunger. Hunger doesn’t take a break, and neither does the Dutchess County community. Partnerships between school districts, non-profits and local municipalities work hard over the summer to eliminate the “summer hunger gap.”
Efforts start in April to coordinate the logistics for the nearly 90,000 FREE meals that are served in over 30 locations throughout the county.
“I am blown away every year at how the community supports each other when it comes to the Summer Food Service Program in Dutchess County,” said Shayna Russo, Eat Smart New York, Senior Resource Educator. “The collaboration among schools, non-profits, local municipalities and community volunteers is so strong and passionate; I am honored to be a part of this team.”
By offering nutritious foods at summer locations in Beacon, Village of Wappingers, Poughkeepsie, Dover, Hyde Park and Webutuck, children learn how to build a healthy plate and establish healthy eating habits that may continue into adulthood. Many of the locations offer more than food; they offer educational activities, friends and a true sense of community.
Come celebrate the summer meals program and see firsthand how the Summer Meal sites assist in helping children not only learn and grow, but stay healthy as well. Join Cornell Cooperative
Extension’s Eat Smart New York Program, numerous community partners and local youth at:
- Tompkins Terrace in Beacon on July 8th from 11:00 am to 1 pm
- Pulaski Pool in Poughkeepsie on July 15th from 11:00 am to 1 pm.
Youth will have food, fun and friends as they visit various activity stations, play games and leave with prizes which encourage healthy habits The Summer Food Service Program sites and times vary throughout the county. Families are encouraged to call 1-866-348-6479 or Text FOOD to 877-877 to find out more about all the Summer Food Service Programs being offered in your area.
For a list of some of the Hudson Valley locations please visit http://ccedutchess.org/nutrition/summer-food-service-programs
Background Information on Summer Meals Program:
- Meals are FREE to children and teens ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals site
- Food served follows USDA nutrition guidelines and is paid for by the USDA
- Summer meals sites are at schools, churches, community centers and other places that are safe for kids and teens
- Parents don’t need to apply to the program to get a free summer meal for their kids. They can just bring their child to a summer meals site in their community.
- Families can text FOOD to 877-877 or call 866-3HUNGRY to find a summer meals site in their neighborhood.