47th RensCo summer food program approaches 5M meals served

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Kids eat lunch at an elementary school in Paducah, Kentucky on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Ellen O'Nan/The Paducah Sun/AP)

Kids eat lunch at an elementary school in Paducah, Kentucky on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Ellen O’Nan/The Paducah Sun/AP)

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rensselaer County’s 47th installment of the Summer Food Program to Keep Kids Fed started Thursday. The program is approaching its 5 millionth meal served.

“The Summer Food program is one of the most important services provided by Rensselaer County and our partners. It shows that kids who need support are not forgotten during the summer,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin. “This is also a great sign that we are emerging from the pandemic and able to return to important activities and traditions.”

Every week through August 31, the returning summer tradition gives kids under 18 lunch and either breakfast or a snack. Food is available at 21 sites in the county, including day camps, Boys and Girls clubs, churches, community centers, schools, and housing projects.

“We estimate the county is approaching five million meals served in the Summer Food program since the program started in the early 1970s.,” McLaughlin said.

The program has been providing nutritious meals to generations of Rensselaer County kids. This year, organizers anticipate serving 120,000 meals. To help respond to families struggling from the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waivers eligibility requirements, which keeps more kids from going hungry.

“The expansion is helpful, because it means kids who need a meal from all areas can access the Summer Food program during a time when it may be especially needed,” said county Youth Director Pierce Hoyt.

The program is the result of a partnership with the USDA and the New York State Education Department.

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