June 23, 2020
Meal Hub service will continue this summer for all New Yorkers from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM Monday through Friday at 400 sites
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, COVID-19 Food Czar and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced grab-and-go Meal Hubs will continue to operate through the summer as the City continues to fight food insecurity during the COVD-19 crisis. Starting on June 29th, Meal Hub summer service will operate at approximately 400 sites across the city and continue regular service from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Grab-and-go meals are available to any New Yorker who needs them. Vegetarian meals that are also halal will be available at all sites, and select sites serving halal chicken and kosher-certified meals will continue during the summer. A full list of sites will be available here.
“New Yorkers shouldn't have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their bills," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re continuing Grab-and-go meals through the summer to ensure no New Yorkers goes hungry.”
“The hundreds of Grab & Go sites across the city have been a crucial part of ensuring that no New Yorker goes hungry due to this crisis, and I want to thank the working people who will help them stay open throughout the summer,” said New York City Sanitation Commissioner and ‘COVID-19 Food Czar’ Kathryn Garcia. “These meals are available regardless of income, citizenship, or age, and I urge anyone in need to make use of them.”
“Serving over 20 million meals to New Yorkers throughout this crisis has been an honor, and our heroic food service workers have seen it as their duty,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We are proud to continue this service throughout the summer for anyone who needs a meal during the week.”
After school buildings were closed on March 15th due to COVID-19, the grab-and-go Meal Hub program began in order to provide nutritious food to students who depend on school meals. As part of the City’s fight against the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, Meal Hub service expanded in early April to include all New Yorkers who need meals during this crisis.
To date, Meal Hubs have served approximately 30 million meals and are currently averaging approximately 550,000 meals a day. Meal Hub service will continue for the duration of this summer. In addition to meals, Meal Hubs are now community hubs for important updates on COVID-19, free books for young people, and access to menstrual hygiene products.
Starting on June 22nd, all Meal Hubs began offering take home pizza meal kits. Take home pizza meal kits can be cooked at home using an oven, microwave, or toaster oven. Meal Hub patrons can pick up pizza alongside to grab-and-go meal offerings, and this option will continue to be available throughout the summer. The DOE will exhaust all existing supplies of pizza in schools to prevent food waste and continue to order more meal kits as needed.
Site locations may change for Summer Meal Hub service. To find the closest open Meal Hub, please visit schools.nyc.gov/freemeals or text “NYC FOOD” or “NYC COMIDA” to 877-877.
"As New York City reaches an unemployment rate of 18% and New Yorkers struggle to pay their bills, the last thing our communities should have to worry about is whether they can put food on the table. I am grateful that the NYC Department of Education will continue the Grab & Go Meal Hub program into the summer – it is critical that New Yorkers maintain access to emergency food assistance throughout the duration of this pandemic and in our greatest moment of need," said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
"Neither COVID-19 nor hunger take a summer vacation. It is vital we make sure our children get fed this summer. I support efforts to adapt tools that can get meals to children while keeping them safe during the pandemic," said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.
"The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching and have impacted food security for many people across our city," said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “The continuation of grab-and-go meal hubs throughout the summer comes to us during challenging times and displays the administration’s commitment to the fight against hunger in New York City. I look forward to this continued support for all New Yorkers.”
"The continuation of the grab-and-go Meal Hubs throughout the summer will offer families who may be experiencing food insecurity due to COVID related circumstances access to a daily meal. I applaud the Mayor and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for making food access for all a priority," said Council Member Diana Ayala.
"DOE Grab-and-Go Meal sites have without a doubt been an incredible lifeline for my constituents since the brink of this pandemic, and I'm thrilled that this program will continue even after the academic year has finished for the summer season," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "As New York City continues its path towards a full reopening, we must remain committed to preserving the services that have helped hundreds of families survive this crisis to help New Yorkers get back on their feet."
“As the City begins to reopen, it’s critical that all New Yorkers continue to have access to fresh, healthy food and the comprehensive support and resources offered at DOE meal hubs. I thank Commissioner Garcia, Commissioner Carranza, and Mayor de Blasio for their commitment to fighting food insecurity and ensuring New Yorkers are supported throughout the City’s recovery process,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“Even as we enter Phase 2 of reopening the city, and we allow restaurants to reopen, food insecurity continues to be an issue for families across all five boroughs,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “Our office has been inundated with calls from residents seeking food assistance since the start of the pandemic and the grab-and-go Meal Hubs have been a great source of support for them. I commend the administration for their decision to continue to operate the Meal Hubs during the summer and for offering Halal and Kosher options to ensure all New Yorkers are able to take advantage of this program.”
"This virus exacerbated food insecurity issues in New York City, the financial stress created by Covid-19 continues to be all too real for many families," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Extending grab-and-go Meal Hubs throughout the summer will offer families in need something to fall back on when they cannot make ends meet. This is important for children, seniors, and every vulnerable New Yorker in between. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Food Czar and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia as well as Chancellor Richard A. Carranza for working together to make this happen."
"We have seen an unprecedented need for emergency food assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and expanding summer meal hubs will help ensure all New Yorkers have access to fresh, nutritious food to help get them through these trying times,” said Council Member Peter Koo.
"Covid-19 cases are at record lows in New York City, but the economic impact of the virus has yet to peak. Free meal service for all, including our halal and kosher eating communities, is an essential service," said Council Member Rory Lancman.
"Making sure our most vulnerable families and children are fed is arguably more important now during the recovery than before. No one should have to worry about putting food on the table while they try to restore financial stability. I'm pleased the City will continue the Grab and Go Meal Hubs through the summer,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
"The extension of the Meal Hub program, coupled with the availability of halal and vegetarian options and other crucial resources, represents the City's enduring commitment to provide for all its residents. Today's announcement is an important step to ensuring that individuals and families have access to nutritious food options, and I applaud the Administration's efforts in ensuring that no New Yorker goes hungry," said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.
"COVID-19 has affected New York City in unimaginable ways, but one of the most urgent economic effects of the pandemic was food insecurity. Thankfully, the City stepped in to fill the need with the Meal Hub program. With so many New Yorkers still suffering from lost income and facing limited employment prospects in the coming months, the extension of this program through the summer is vital. I commend the Mayor, Chancellor Carranza, and Commissioner Garcia for keeping this service in place, and I send my heartfelt appreciation to the essential workers that prepare and distribute these meals at our schools," said Council Member Carlina Rivera.