August 16, 2016
Reporter: PATRICIA DADDONA
As of this summer, the Connecticut Summer Meals Program has 714 distinct locations across the state serving children free meals, said Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell.
Since 2011, when there were only 536 sites, the number of sites has increased by 33 percent, Wentzell and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in an announcement. Last year, there were 646 sites, a Malloy spokesman said.
Summer meals extend the free and reduced-price lunch and breakfast programs that schools provide during the school year. Schools and community partners set up meal programs for children at parks, churches, libraries, playgrounds, camps, food pantries, community recreation centers, and many other locations throughout the state. Meals are free and any young person 18 or under can participate.
In the effort to combat hunger, Malloy said, “reaching this all-time high demonstrates that we are making a difference in the lives of young people.”
Last year, the program fed 41,676 children and served more than 1.9 million meals across the state, Wentzell said.
Also last year, Connecticut ranked as one of five top-performing states in serving meals to children and teens during the summer, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, released in June.