The New York Summer Meals Program, which provides free breakfast and lunch to qualified public school students, historically served hundreds of thousands fewer children over the summer than during the regular school year, despite high need. To increase awareness of and participation in this essential program, the foundation initiated and for three years supported a program that distributed refrigeration units, flyers, and posters and conducted outreach about Summer Meals. This produced a 31 percent increase in participation in the program in the first year, and continued significant increases in the second and third years of funding, resulting in hundreds of thousands of additional healthy meals reaching children each summer.
This catalytic program has led to key partnerships with the New York City Housing Authority, the Parks Department, and both soup kitchens and public libraries in Brooklyn and Queens. The program later added a mobile app called SchoolFood, which allows users to view daily menus and find the nearest Summer Meal sites. Meals were served at over 1,100 locations including parks, schools, libraries, and food trucks.