For children in families that struggle to put food on the table, finding a meal during the summer can be a challenge. That’s why Partners HealthCare, working with Project Bread, awarded $35,000 to Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) locations in seven communities in the Greater Boston Area.
These award recipients included Our Lady of Good Council Parish and Lawrence Community Works, which are located in Lawrence; the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Boston; the East Boston YMCA; and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill. The Revere, Salem, Chelsea, Lynn, and Lawrence public school districts also received awards.
From September to June, school meals—breakfast and lunch—provided children with a consistent and reliable protection against hunger. In the summer months, these children need another source of food in order to remain healthy and return to school in the fall ready to learn. All meals are free to children and youth 18 years and under, no registration or sign-up necessary.
Support from Partners HealthCare helped provide healthy meals to more than 8,688 children each day to prevent hunger, and to ensure that many of the young people in the neighborhoods the health care system serves got the nutrition they needed during the summer.
“We are delighted to have worked with Project Bread again this year on the Summer Food Service Program,” said Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health, Partners HealthCare. “This important program helped to keep children well nourished and active during the summer months so they can return to school healthy and ready to learn in the fall. It embodies prevention: one of our highest priorities in our partnerships to improve the health of communities we serve.”
Project Bread works hard with community partners and sponsors such as Partners HealthCare to boost, strengthen, and expand the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally supported child nutrition program, which was specifically designed to bridge the summer gap in school meals.
According to Ellen Parker, the executive director of Project Bread, “We are grateful to Partners HealthCare for its generous commitment to the Summer Food Service Program because the best summer meals programs lead with great activities that attract children. Children want to attend summer meals programs that are fun and offer them dignity. If a meals program has the feel of a charity handout, it’s not building the healthy self-esteem that children need to thrive and succeed.” Most sites opened by July 1 and all ran until mid-August.