Return home

Program provides healthy lunches to kids during summer

Jack Elliott, Special to the Daily Sentinel
Posted 7/7/22

The 2022 Summer Food Service is now underway, with youths being served in the city’s five major parks.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Program provides healthy lunches to kids during summer


ROME — The 2022 Summer Food Service is now underway, with youths being served in the city’s five major parks.

Rome City School District Lunch Manager Christopher Whitmore said the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program is free for youths ages 18 and younger. The school district has been a host of the program for more than two decades.

Statewide, it’s anticipated that the 2022 Summer Food Service Program will provide free meals to approximately 400,000 young people at parks, pools, libraries, camps and schools in local communities. The program kicks off annually at the beginning of July at nearly 3,000 sites throughout New York, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said.

Whitmore said the program would run locally now through Aug. 19, and menus are available through the Rome City School District website at

The Rome menu ranges from taco scoops and turkey submarine sandwiches to pizza Crunchers and chicken nuggets, served with a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables, along with a featured fruit juice or milk.

Meals are served Mondays through Fridays at the following sites:

• Franklyn's Field

1106 N. James St.

12:15-12:45 p.m. through Aug. 19.

• Pinti Field

200 Sixth St.

Noon to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 19.

• Gryziec Field

726 S. James St.

11:30 a.m. to noon through Aug. 26.

• Guyer Field

701 Laurel St.

12:15-12:45 p.m. through Aug. 19.

• Stevens Field

700 W. Court St.

Noon to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 19.

Ryan Hickey, deputy director of the city Parks and Recreation Department, said the lunch program not only serves local students in need, but it also helps get children to the parks to enjoy outdoor summer activities.

Hickey said the program helps those in need in the community to have access to good nutrition through healthy food choices.

“It’s been a very popular program in years past, and the same is expected this year,” he said. “It also helps bring the kids to the parks — we get an average of about 20 kids per park.”

State Department of Education Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said summer food service is indispensable, especially now, when so many families are struggling with financial uncertainty.

“No child should go hungry, and these programs give young people reassurance of when their next meal is coming,” Young said.

“Ensuring consistent access to nutritious meals helps children grow and thrive all year long and reduces the stress of food insecurity for many families across New York,” Young added.

Studies have shown that access to nutritious food during summer break benefits children’s health, education, and food security.

Inadequate nutrition can have developmental consequences for children, including lower academic performance, social and emotional difficulties like anxiety and depression, and a higher risk for chronic illnesses like anemia or diabetes.

Young people may also have the opportunity to interact with other children their age and participate in free activities at program sites.

“Our Summer Food Service Program fills an important void created when school meals are unavailable, and many children would otherwise go hungry,” Commissioner Rosa said.

“By providing students with fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other healthy food throughout the summer, we set them up for success when they return to school in the fall,” Rosa added. “This essential service is made possible by many local programs, and I thank them for their commitment to serving our most vulnerable students.”

Statewide, over 400 organizations will serve nutritious meals every day. It is anticipated that more than 20 million nutritious meals will be served to New York children this summer.

The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children aged 18 and younger receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level, and the state Education Department administers it at the state level.

Other Summer Food Service Program sites:


Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School; Watson Williams Elementary School; Kernan Elementary School; Thomas R. Proctor High School; Hugh R. Jones Elementary School; Thomas Jefferson Elementary School; and John F. Kennedy Middle School.


Mount Markham Elementary School.


Camden Middle School and Camden High School.


W.F. Prior Elementary School; Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School; North Broad Street School.


Waterville Junior/Senior High School; and Memorial Park Elementary School.


DeForest A. Hill Primary, 5176 Route 233

For a list of program sites, go to, or check your local school district website.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here