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2021 Summer Eats Program launched

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Food Access

Meals are available to youth 18 years and younger at no cost and without registration or ID.

Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) today announced that 53 Boston Summer Eats Program meal sites will open on June 21, 2021, with an additional 14 sites opening later in the summer. The Boston Summer Eats program is an innovative effort to lessen the summer food gap by increasing the availability of non-traditional meal sites. The program launched in 2017 with the goal to expand access to free and healthy meals for youth and teens in Boston. 

“Ensuring continued food access to our children and youth throughout the summer after school closes is vital to their wellbeing,” said Mayor Janey. “Thank you to all of the community-based organizations for their partnership with the City of Boston in creating access across our city for all our children.”

Residents who wish to access free meals for youth aged 18 and under can find sites at www.boston.gov/summer-eats 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.

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 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and is sponsored by the Boston Children's Hospital. Other partners involved in the 2021 Boston Summer Eats program include: Boston Public Library (BPL), Boston Housing Authority (BHA), and Boston Public Schools (BPS). 

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. This year meal sites include six Boston Housing Authority properties, 14 Boston Public Schools, eight Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) sites, eight YMCA sites, four farmers markets, 30 community- and faith-based organizations, and three Boston Public Library locations throughout 17 neighborhoods. 

“I am grateful for all the support we have had from all of our Boston Summer Eats program partners,” said Catalina López-Ospina, Mayor’s Office of Food Access Director “Together, we are reducing food insecurity one child at a time and making healthy summer meals accessible to all.” 

Additionally, this summer, the Pandemic EBT will be available for families when schools are closed. All K-12 students who received P-EBT this school year will receive a total of $375 in P-EBT benefits in two equal payments of $187.50 this summer. The first payment will be issued on July 1 and the second payment will be issued on August 1. Also, families who receive SNAP and received P-EBT this year for their children ages 0 through 6 will also receive two summer P-EBT payments of $187.50, totaling $375 for the summer. P-EBT payments for these children will be made on July 25 and August 25. For more information residents can visit www.map-ebt.org.

These funds will go directly to residents’ P-EBT card or SNAP/EBT card if they are enrolled in SNAP. Residents are encouraged to keep their P-EBT cards even when they have used all the funds, in case benefits are added in the future. These funds can be used to purchase groceries anywhere EBT or SNAP is accepted. Residents can download the Fresh EBT app to find nearby stores and farmer’s markets that accept EBT.

For more information about Food Access resources in Boston, visit here

About the Mayor’s Office of Food Access

The Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) 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 on Project Bread, visit www.projectbread.org

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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