Children and teens visiting the Huntington Ave. YMCA this summer have a chance to enjoy healthy meals and snacks that may not have been able to receive elsewhere.
With the help of a $62,500 grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Huntington Ave. Y, along with seven other branches of the YMCA of Greater Boston, is taking part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program--a program that provides free meals to children 18 and under while school is out.
The USDA’s initiative is designed to help provide healthy meals to the 21 million children nationwide who lose access to free or reduced meals at the end of the school year. It also aims alleviate the strain of food costs on families’ budgets.
“For some children in our communities, the end of the school year means end of meals,” said Wendy Zinn, executive director of the Huntington Ave. Y. “At the Y, we are focused on making sure children stay healthy and well-nourished.”
The Huntington Ave. Y expects to serve more than 7,000 meals to an estimated 150 children this summer. The more than 300 Y’s participating in the program nationwide aim to serve 5 million meals and snacks to 100,000 children.
“We know that providing access to healthy meals during the summer months will enable students to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation, said in a statement.
The foundation gave the YMCA of the USA a $5 million grant that it distributed to branches fighting child hunger.
“By working closely with Huntington Ave. YMCA, we can help kids have better summers and, ultimately, better lives,” Mathews Burwell said.
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