Serving a Need

GLOVERSVILLE – Local schools and other sites will offer free food this summer as part of the state Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program.

The program aims to ensure low-income children have breakfast, lunch and snacks when school is not in session.

The meals will be provided at various sites throughout Fulton and Montgomery counties. Students ages 18 or younger are eligible to participate in the program, along with students older than 18 who are enrolled in an activity program.

The state program runs June 16 through Sept. 1, but not all sites run for the entire period. One local site starts today. Other local sites start July 7.

Gloversville middle school and high school have sites, as well as Warren Street Elementary School in Johnstown.

This is the first year the Gloversville Enlarged School District is participating in the program in more than five years, said Teal Carpenter of Gloversville’s school nutrition program.

Carpenter said this is the first year it’s financially feasible for the district to offer the sites.

Students do not need to be enrolled in summer school to get the free meals.

According to the state Education Department, in order to serve food to low-income children throughout the summer, the sponsors must identify the location is in an area where at least half the residents are children from households with incomes at or below the eligibility level for free or reduced-priced school meals.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a proclamation recognizing July as Summer Meals Month to help raise awareness.

“This program is vital to New Yorkers all across the state, and our administration is committed to making sure that it reaches as many families in need as possible,” Cuomo said in a news release.

The program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. The state will reimburse the sites, based on a reimbursement rate, and then the USDA will reimburse the state.

To find a meal site and times of operation, call 1-866-348-6479.

According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the program was created in 1968. In 2012, 2.28 million children were fed at more than 39,00 sites nationwide.