Rochester’s school-aged kids should not go hungry this summer. The city launched its summer meals program on Monday, where kids under 18 eat lunch – and in some cases breakfast – for free.
14 year old Joshua Lowe spends time in the Lincoln Library studying, even during the summer. While he’s there, he takes advantage of the city’s summer meals program.
“Sometimes there’s no one home, so I just come here,” Joshua said.
All kids 18 and younger are fed lunch, and in some locations, breakfast for free – made possible through Foodlink, the city and the school district. Now that school is out, it helps some families struggling to make ends meet.
“I think families really rely on this to help reduce some of the other burdens that they have, and ensure that they can maybe put some of their funds towards other things and make sure that kids have clothing and everything they need,” said program director Aaron Lattanzio.
Elizabeth Rosario has four children to feed. The city’s summer meal program takes care of two out of three meals.
“We have to take advantage of these opportunities because it’s for the kids,” Rosario said. “Also, it provides some kind of breakfast or lunch to the kids. It’s a family with four in the house, it’s expensive. With the kids out of school it’s more expensive because they eat more.”
The city is trying something new this year with a mobile food unit, piggybacking off the idea of the trending food trucks – where the food is delivered right to the kids.
“We’re hoping that it’ll be attractive to some of the older youth, actually, which is one of our challenges is getting to the older youth to come to the sites,” Lattanzio said. “And if we go to them at the playgrounds or the basketball courts we’re hoping we can get that participation up.”
To find out where the meals are being served and when, simply call 211.