Volunteers with Island Harvest food bank distribute food at Eagle...

Volunteers with Island Harvest food bank distribute food at Eagle Avenue Elementary School in Medford as part of its Summer Food Service Program that provides breakfast and lunch to children 18 and younger at schools, libraries, parks and community centers. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

In an effort to let no kid go hungry, the 2023 Summer Food Service Program plans to provide meals to about 400,000 New Yorkers, the state Education Department announced.

It will kick off in July at nearly 2,500 sites statewide, including parks, pools, camps, libraries and schools.

As part of Tuesday's announcement, officials released an interactive USDA map families can access online to search for a service location, using an address, town, city or ZIP code.

Statewide, more than 495 organizations will serve meals every day, officials said, with summer sites offering "nutritious, healthy meals for children, often with fresh, locally sourced produce."

Meals will be available for pickup or delivery to eligible children in rural areas who can’t get to a meal site. It is anticipated that more than 20 million nutritious meals will be served to New York children this summer.

In addition to the online map — fns.usda.gov/meals4kids — families can text "Food" or "Comida" to 304-304. You can also call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 866-3-HUNGRY or 877-3-HAMBRE or call 211 in New York State or 311 in New York City.

The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure low-income children age 18 and younger receive healthy meals when schools are not in session, officials said.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the national level, while the State Education Department administers it at the state level.

“These programs are vital to ensure that children from low-income families have equitable access to nutritious meals during the summer break, helping to combat food insecurity and promote overall well-being," State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in a statement. "The Summer Food Service programs support educational continuity by ensuring that children return to school in the fall ready to learn, as proper nutrition is closely linked to academic performance.”

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