TOMS RIVER – Many children receive free meals during the school year from the cafeteria because they are on a program based on their family’s income. But at the end of the school year, that source of food dries up.
This is why the Ocean County YMCA is starting a summer meals program at its 1088 West Whitty Rd. location. This location is between the Walnut Street School and Joseph A. Citta School, where half of the students in need live.
The Y will begin serving meals on Tuesday, May 26 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., the day after Memorial Day. The program will then run Monday through Friday until the end of August.
The program is being coordinated between the Y and Toms River Schools. About 5,000 children in the Toms River Regional District receive meals from the National School Lunch Program.
“Feeding our children gets to the core of what it means to be a student-centered school district,” said Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent David Healy, “and during these challenging times it’s more important than ever that our kids’ academic, social-emotional, and nutritional needs are being met. We’re proud to work alongside a valuable partner, the Ocean County YMCA, to ensure that children throughout the greater Toms River area – especially those who are economically disadvantaged – remain well fed throughout the summer months.”
“Hunger has a lasting impact on the development of children,” says Peter T. Rosario, President and CEO of the Ocean County YMCA. “From the first days of this crisis, we have partnered with Fulfill by packing food boxes at the BEAT Center and distributing food boxes at the Y. Giving kids access to nutrition-filled meals allows kids to focus, learn, and become empowered to reach their full potential. The Y’s Summer Meals Program is a monumental next step in our efforts to combat hunger.”