NYC uses food trucks to bring summer meals to kids
NEW YORK (AP) — Within minutes, the line at the food truck parked on a busy Queens thoroughfare extended several people deep. Hipster foodies looking to sample vegan pizzas or fusion tacos?
Nope, these were children, agonizing over whether to pick the ham-and- cheese or the peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, the regular or chocolate milk.
It was part of a summer meals program that tries to make sure the children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the academic year don’t lose out just because school’s out.
Instead of the kids coming to where the food is, the food goes to where the kids are.
New York City’s Department of Education put its first truck in service a couple of years ago, and this year it has four — one that goes to Orchard Beach in the Bronx and three that go to a park and two library branches in Queens.
“By bringing the food to them we’re able to extend our reach in ways that previously were unattainable,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the department’s Office of School Support Services.
Goldstein said about 75 percent of the city’s 1.1 million public school students are eligible during the school year for daily free or reduced-price meals, which the city provides and gets reimbursed for by the federal government. Participation during the school year requires filling out paperwork, and not all eligible students take part.