Program offers free, nutritious meals during summer months to eligible youth, disabled adults
The Erie County Department of Social Services is encouraging eligible residents to apply for the summer food service program. SFSP is a program administered by the New York State Education Department that offers the opportunity for low-income children ages 18 and younger to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer months. Disabled adults over the age of 18 and enrolled in school programs for persons with physical or mental disabilities also are eligible to participate.
Nearly 1.4 million children in New York receive free or reduced-price school meals during the regular school year, but only about 400,000 children participate in SFSP during non-school months. The SFSP was implemented to reduce the likelihood of nutritional risk for low-income children during the summer recess by providing free meals at participating summer sites such as schools, parks, pools, recreation centers, camps, housing authorities and other neighborhood locations. These sites are selected based on community demographics and need, and any participating youth who comes to an approved location may receive meals without providing eligibility documentation.
To find a local community site offering SFSP, contact the New York State Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 or visit www.Summermealsny.org .The SFSP officially ends Sept. 7, although most sites close by the end of August. Program details are available on the Erie County Social Services website at www2.erie.gov/socialservices/index.php?q=free-summer-meals-available-children.