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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Three Lockport parks are being used as distribution sites for free summer meals to provide children from low-income households with fresh, healthy food when schools are out of session.

Administered by the Niagara County Youth Bureau, the meals are available at Altro, Outwater and Dolan parks through Aug. 14.

Data from a national report shows nearly 360,000 children received free summer meals in New York in 2014, an increase of nine percent from 2013.

“Stamping out child hunger in New York is not only a top priority of this administration, it’s absolutely vital to this state’s future health,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This program will help ensure children who rely on reduced-price meals during the school year still have access to healthy food during the summer months – an important part of our efforts to make child hunger a relic of the past in the Empire State.”

The federally-funded Summer Food Service Program, administered by the New York State Education Department, helps fill a gap for families who count on free and reduced-price school meals during the school year to help feed their children. In 2014, federal and State reimbursements exceeded $40 million dollars in New York State. Summer meals site sponsors are paid a per meal cost to serve up to two meals per day.

In 2014, three in 10 children who received school meals also received summer meals in New York. That’s nearly twice the national rate, according to a report from the Food Research and Action Center.

Children ages 18 and under, and disabled young adults over 18 who are enrolled in school programs for persons with disabilities, can receive free nutritious meals and snacks at the summer meals sites.

To participate or for more information, call 278-6872.

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