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2021 Summer Eats grants applications are now open

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Food Access

Meal sites open to youth aged 18 and under at no cost with no registration required

Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) today announced that Boston Summer Eats grant applications for summer 2021 are now open. Grants will be available for community organizations interested in hosting a Boston Summer Eats meal site. The Boston Summer Eats is an innovative effort to lessen the summer food gap by increasing the availability of non-traditional meal sites. The goal of the program is to expand access to free and healthy meals for kids and teens in Boston. Interested community- or faith-based organizations are encouraged to apply by June 11, 2021.

“It is imperative that we work to close the summer food gap, and this initiative is the first step in doing so,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “As students enjoy summer vacation, we must continue to ensure that they have access to healthy and nutritious food. I would like to thank everyone involved in this program to support Boston youth, and I encourage all interested organizations to apply for these grants.”

The Boston Summer Eats program is led by the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) in partnership with Project Bread, the Greater Boston YMCA, and Boston Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services, and is sponsored by the Boston Children's Hospital. The program provides free, nutritious meals to youth aged 18 and under. Last summer, the program served 1,894,748 meals across 91 sites in 16 neighborhoods. Among the 97 sites, there were 23 non-traditional sites, including certain Boston Housing Authority properties, Farmers Markets, community and faith-based organizations, and Boston City Hall.

“I am thankful for strong partnerships we have made to address the summer meal gap, and reduce barriers for our youth to easily access healthy meal options as they transition into a new school year.” Said Catalina López-Ospina, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Access. “Good nutrition and access to healthy food is essential for our youth, it is directly linked to a young person’s health and success.”

This summer, sites will operate from June 21, 2021 through August 31, 2021. Organizations interested in hosting a non-traditional site must operate in the City of Boston, commit to administer and execute community outreach for Boston Summer Eats in neighborhoods, and pledge to provide meals to all children and teens ages 18 and under. Operating hours and dates can be determined by the organization.

There are three categories of grants available for community-based organizations, dependent on the number of days a meal site is operational:

  • Five days a week, range up to $4,000
  • Three days a week, range up to $2,400
  • One to two days a week, range up to $1,600

For summer 2021, grant funds are to be used exclusively for personnel to help staff the site, and the funding is determined based on the number of operational days/hours.  Monetary awards are accompanied by comprehensive technical assistance and support. All sites will use the grab-&-go model, and distribute breakfast and lunch together.

Residents who wish to access free meals for youth aged 18 and under, can find sites at or find additional locations across the state by texting “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877. Hours of operation vary depending on the site, and most meal sites are currently offering breakfast and lunch. Parents can pick up meals for youth who are not present. No registration or identification is required. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meals will be taken off-site, rather than eaten in a congregate meal setting at the site.

About the Mayor’s Office of Food Access

The Mayor’s Office of Food Access strives to give all residents of Boston access to nutritious, affordable, culturally connected food. Keeping the diversity of Boston’s population at heart, OFA’s goal is to create a more food secure City with a vibrant, inclusive food culture.

About Project Bread

Project Bread is committed to preventing and ending hunger in Massachusetts. As a leading statewide anti-hunger organization, Project Bread approaches hunger as a complex problem with multiple solutions, providing immediate access to affordable, healthy food while also eradicating the systemic causes of hunger.  Project Bread creates innovative initiatives and supports effective programs to end food insecurity in Massachusetts. For more information, visit the Project Bread website.

About the YMCA

The YMCA is the nation's leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow and thrive. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves the nation's health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

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