Rochester children recently took in the sights of Frontier Field at the annual Spring Into Summer: Summer Meals Fest.
The Summer Meals Partnership of Rochester hosts the event at the Red Wings’ stadium each spring to educate parents about how children ages 18 and younger can access free meals throughout the summer.
Foodlink, the city of Rochester and the Rochester City School District collaborate with community partners such as Common Ground Health and the Rochester Area Community Foundation to organize the event and allow children to sample various menu items.
“School is almost out, and all of the partners involved in ensuring Rochester children have access to free, healthy meals are gearing up for a successful summer,” said Dina Faticone, Director of Community Health and Engagement for Common Ground Health. “The Summer Meals Fest serves as an important reminder for parents and a fun day at Frontier Field for the kids.”
Local R-Centers, summer school locations, libraries and other community centers serve as meal sites throughout the summer. The Foodlink Community Kitchen and the Rochester City School district are the two meal vendors that cover more than 100 sites across the city. A map of the 2019 sites was posted at the stadium, and parents can call 211 or visit SummerMealsRoc.org to learn more about sites in their neighborhood.
“The health and well-being of our community’s children has long been a top priority for the Community Foundation,” said Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO. “These free and healthy meals provide the fuel they need to enjoy and participate in their summer recreational and learning activities.”
Although the Red Wings were on the road for the weekend, children were able to meet and greet Buffalo Bills second-year defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, who helped promote the Summer Meals program in partnership with the American Dairy Association.
2018’s Summer Meals program resulted in a total of 338,247 meals served — with an average daily participation rate of more than 5,200 children. The program benefited from 103 community partners that acted as meal sites.
“Providing children access to nutritious meals is central to our mission,” said Foodlink President & CEO Julia Tedesco. “When school is out, many parents face the financial burden of increased grocery bills. Providing access to free meals give parents assurance that their children are nourished, and able to reach their true potential.”
The start date for Summer Meals sites ranges between June 24 and July 8. For more information about the partnership or a list of sites, visit summermealsroc.org or dial 211.