Holding a cafeteria tray, Patrick Grecco, 9, lined up with other children to grab lunch — a ham and cheese sandwich, bag of apple slices, milk and juice boxes and a peach.
It was like any other lunch he and about 100 of his peers receive at the Glen Cove Youth Bureau’s “Glen Cove After 3” summer program, but on Thursday, he was being filmed.
As part of an upcoming summer feature on childhood hunger, cameras from the ABC talk and cooking show “The Chew” filmed scenes at the Glen Cove program, which is held at Robert M. Finley Middle School and receives free lunches from the food bank Island Harvest.
The program was selected to be on the show because of its affiliation with the national nonprofit Feeding America, which frequently works with “The Chew.”
Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, said the organization has 200 affiliates around the country, and chose Island Harvest to be highlighted. The segment will air sometime this summer but a specific date was not available.
“It’s vital for children to be properly nourished even throughout the summer,” Fraser said. “If Island Harvest didn’t implement programs to feed Long Island so many children would go without meals. And malnourishment affects children's cognitive, physical and emotional development, so we’re overjoyed that our efforts will be highlighted on the show.”
“Glen Cove After 3” runs every summer from July 1 to Aug. 9. Certified teachers lecture second to ninth graders in math, science and writing while also introducing them to careers and how to maintain healthy lifestyles. Since the program no longer receives government funding covering the cost of attendees, partnering with Island Harvest helps offset the cost to parents.
On Thursday, the show’s film crew captured children as they collected and ate their lunches, and also conducted interviews as part of a feature on organizations fighting childhood hunger.
“It makes me feel upset to find out that some kids go hungry," said Grecco, a fifth-grader at Connolly Elementary School in Glen Cove. "I was so hungry today before I ate a sandwich.”
Randi Shubin Dresner, president and chief executive of Island Harvest, explained how the food bank helps fight childhood hunger on Long Island through its summer lunch program by providing well-balanced meals to children in programs like this one.
“When school is out for the summer, food pantries get a surge of people trying to feed their families,” she said. “Families struggle paying the bills and feeding their family, so this lunch program really helps the at least 90,000 children in need on the Island.”