Yonkers Public Schools offers free meals for students throughout the summer
The Yonkers Public Schools’ Free Summer Breakfast and Lunch program kicked off Tuesday – the very first day of summer vacation.
It runs until Aug. 11 when the kitchens are shut down for two weeks for cleaning and back-to-school preparations.
"In a city like Yonkers, where we have children who live at or below the poverty level, we need to provide meals to them because we don't want them to just eat September to June,” said Cherise Tafe, the director of food services at Yonkers Public Schools.
The cost of running the program is $150,000, including employee paychecks. That money is reimbursed by the federal government. Last year, the entire Yonkers Schools District food budget was $3.3 million.
“All of the students in Yonkers …are eating at no charge because at least 50% of the district lives at or below the poverty level – which is why the district was eligible,” said Tafe.
Just over 25% of Yonkers residents under age 18 live below the poverty line.
Breakfast and lunch are provided to eat on location at six schools throughout Yonkers during the summer months. Halima Anderson, of Yonkers Public Schools says those services are also available at the city’s Riverfront Library and the Will Library.
Last year they gave away 8,800 meals. Officials are hoping to increase that number.