CAPTAIN Community Human Services and its partners will kick off its 24th Free Summer Meals Program on July 2, 2019, at the Park Avenue Playground in Mechanicville. Scheduled from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, the festivities will include food, a DJ, games, bouncy house, and more. Local and state elected officials will be in attendance.
While free and reduced lunch meals are provided at schools during the academic year, low-income youth are underserved during the summer months.
“For many of us, summer break means barbecues and vacations, but it’s a far different reality for families struggling to put food on the table,” shared Andy Gilpin, CAPTAIN CHS’s Associate Executive Director. “When school ends, so does access to the National School Lunch program, leaving kids without reliable access to nutrition during the summer months. That’s where the Free Summer Meals program steps in and provides a lifeline for these families.”
Free Summer Meals not only fights food insecurity, but it helps to prepare students for the coming school year. According to the School Nutrition Association, students who go without reliable access to food often experience slower progress in math and reading and are at a higher likelihood of repeating a grade.
The Free Summer Meals Program has been provided by CAPTAIN CHS since 1991, originating at their Community Outreach Center, Cheryl’s Lodge. It wasn’t until United Way funding was available that CAPTAIN was able to expand, and began serving all of Saratoga County. In 2018, CAPTAIN CHS served over 11,000 meals throughout Saratoga County.
Managed by the NYS Department of Education under the direction of, and through funding from, the USDA, this year Free Summer Meals will be provided to youth 18 and under at 19 different locations throughout Saratoga County from July 1 to August 30, 2019. Open site locations include Corinth Elementary School, the Galway Public Library, J.S. Moore Homes and the Park Avenue Playground in Mechanicville, the Schuylerville Public Library, the Stillwater Public Library, and the Waterford Wesleyan Church. Other sites are available to local children in designated areas. Contact CAPTAIN CHS at 518-371-1185 for more information.
CAPTAIN CHS also operates a mobile meals program that deploys to certain mobile home communities to bring lunches directly to the children.
CAPTAIN CHS has partnered with other non-profit organizations and agencies in Saratoga County that are committed to providing underprivileged children with nutritious meals: Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Inc. (MACSC), Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. (EOC), Mechanicville Housing Authority, Schuylerville Youth Recreation Program, Schuylerville Public Library, Stillwater Public Library, Galway Public Library, Waterford Wesleyan Church and the Waterford Recreation Department, and New York Hunger Solutions.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, ASL, etc.) should contact the agency where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.