Target: Eric Goldstein, CEO of New York City’s Department of Education Office of School Support Services
Goal: Applaud expanded efforts to prevent children from going hungry during the summer by bringing the meals to them
Around 21 million American children need free or reduced-price meals during the school year, but during the summer just one in seven of those kids are eligible for such programs. Those who do qualify might still go hungry because their parents need to work such long hours, or because they lack the resources simply to get to locations where they can get the nutrition they need. In New York City, a whopping 75 percent of schoolchildren qualify for free or reduced-price meals while school is in session. Luckily, the city has been revitalizing their summer food service program for needy children in order to get the food to those who are most in need of help.
The NYC Department of Education has acquired four food trucks that it decked out in bright colors advertising the free nutritious meals, and the trucks are noticeably free of any mention of hungry children or low-income families. Kids can walk up to the trucks and get their choice of sandwiches and milk without them or their parents feeling the stigma that is often unfortunately associated with such meals programs. The fun truck designs also include a number that residents can text to find their nearest mobile meal service.
The program has seen immense success, serving more and more meals every summer as the department expands its fleet of trucks (with help from local organization Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program). The department’s Office of School Support Services oversees the meals program, and CEO Eric Goldstein told The Associated Press that so far in the summer of 2014, 65,000 more meals have been served as compared to this time last year. He commented, “By bringing the food to them we’re able to extend our reach in ways that previously were unattainable.”
By signing this petition, you are thanking Eric Goldstein and the Office of School Support Services for their work in expanding the summer meals program to reach those with the least resources and the most need.
Dear Eric Goldstein and the Office of School Support Services,
I am writing to you to express my joy and gratitude for your work in expanding NYC’s summer meals program. Your model of using food truck-style mobile meal dispensaries is exactly the kind of program that is needed in cities across the country for the summer, when too many children go hungry due to lack of resources.
Thank you for undertaking the revitalization of NYC’s summer meals program, and continuing to expand by adding more trucks to your fleet. I urge you to continue finding ways to reach hungry children and extending the summer meals program. I hope that departments of education in cities around the nation will be inspired by your example.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr