KIDS EAT FREE! Summer Food Service Program Starts June 26

When school is out, children lose access to free and reduced meal programs, putting a strain on the family grocery bill.  That’s where the Summer Food Service Program comes in!  Beginning June 26 through August 18, children have access to free, nutritious meals at 34 sites in Jefferson County.  Free meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines are provided to all children 18 years old and under (up to age 21 if disabled).  Click on the links below for meal sites in your community:

City of Watertown
Antwerp, Evans Mills, Theresa, Philadelphia
Carthage and Black River
Cape Vincent, Depauville, Dexter and Sackets Harbor

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers the Summer Food Service Program at the federal level, while the New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers the program at the state level.  Locally, the program is operated by Community Action Planning Council and Watertown City School District.  As a program sponsor, Community Action Planning Council is coordinating meal preparation and delivery to 29 sites; the remaining five sites are operated by Watertown City School District.

Last summer 25,916 meals and snacks were provided to local children at sites sponsored by Community Action Planning Council.   That equates to an average of 862 lunches served each day of the program!  This year Community Action Planning Council anticipates feeding even more children with the addition of five summer recreation program sites operated by City of Watertown Parks and Recreation.  Kids who visit the playgrounds at the Fairgrounds, North Elementary, North Hamilton, North-Star and Portage will take part in a variety of age-appropriate games and activities and enjoy lunch and an afternoon snack.  Summer meals are also available at housing sites, rural recreation programs, libraries, non-profit organizations and schools.

In an effort to build greater awareness of the program, Community Action Planning Council and Flower Memorial Library are hosting a Summer Food Service Program Celebration on July 12, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Flower Memorial Library, located at 229 Washington Street in Watertown.  It is a great opportunity to learn more about the Summer Food Service Program and visit the Watertown Farm & Craft Market.  Families, community leaders, elected officials and the media are welcome to attend.  Local organizations will be on hand to share information and to host activities and games for children.  Participating agencies include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Jefferson County Public Health, the North Country Family Health Center, and many others.  The centerpiece of the day’s activities is, of course, a nutritious lunch for children, served between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM.  The staff of Community Action will prepare and distribute the lunches, along with volunteers from Flower Memorial Library.  The menu also includes ice cream, courtesy of Stewart’s Shops.

For more information about the Summer Food Service Program, call 315.782.4900, extension 255.