This summer, the YMCA of Greater Boston will offer free meals and snacks to children at eight of its neighborhood branches thanks to a US Department of Agriculture program and a grant from the Walmart Foundation.
The $62,500 grant will help the YMCA expand access to the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals to children under 18 while school is not in session. USDA figures provided by the YMCA show that more than 21 million children lose access to free or reduced meals in the summer.
“For some children in our communities, the end of the school year means end of meals,” said Kevin Washington, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Boston, in a statement released by the Y.
“At the Y, we are focused on making sure children stay healthy and well-nourished. Thanks to the partnership with the Walmart Foundation, our Y will be able to provide meals to children in the community who need them most.”
The free meals are available at the following YMCA branches: Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Huntington Avenue, Oak Square in Brighton, Roxbury, Waltham, and the Wang YMCA in Chinatown.
More than 300 YMCA branches will offer food programs this summer, with a goal of serving 5 million meals and snacks to children nationwide. The YMCA of Greater Boston hopes to serve more than 93,000 meals to nearly 1,900 local children, according to the announcement.
The YMCA received a $5 million grant for its national effort through the Walmart Foundation’s 2012 Summer Giving Campaign, which has committed more than $20 million to nutrition, education, and employment programs to children and teens in more than 350 communities.
Walmart has expressed interest in building a store in the city of Boston, though city officials have been cool to the idea.
For more information about the YMCA’s summer food program, visit http://www.ymca.net/summer-food-program.
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