Since the schools have closed back in March, and there is an understanding that some children who do not get school lunch will not eat any meal on a given day, the city of New York has made some changes to its School Lunch Program.
Up until about a week ago, all school-aged children could go to their school, or to another school, and pick up breakfast and lunch, in a grab-and-go style.
Now that a large segment of the population has been laid off or furloughed from their jobs, and many of them cannot now afford or find meals, this program has changed.
As you may know, Food Banks around the country have been having severe problems meeting the extremely increased demand. Not only have the numbers of people needing food increased, the donations that such food banks rely on have decreased. Since supermarkets and other stores are being regularly cleaned out by panic-buyers, they have nothing left to donate to the food banks.
While many consumers and businesses are stepping up and making monetary donations, the food banks will then be subject to the same difficulties as consumers in procuring storable non-perishable food for the food banks.
As a result, some states, notably New York, have begun to offer an expanded version of their School Lunch program. Between the hours of 7:30am and 1:30pm, anyone can go to their local school and pick up three meals for the day. They must be eaten off premises, but the schools offering the meals are not requiring identification, proof of income, or anything else in order to pick up the food.
While the preference is for children and families to come between 7:30am and 11:30am, and adults to come between 11:30am and 1:30pm, no one will be turned away at any time.
If you would like to pick up food for yourself or your family, at the end of this article is a list of all of the schools on Staten Island that are currently offering three grab-and-go meals per day to New Yorkers.
You can also check on the NYC website for the most up-to-date list. Then head over to that local school each day to pick up your meals.
For those with special dietary requirements, all of the schools are also offering vegetarian and halal options in their meals. If you have other dietary requirements, such as vegan or gluten-free, you should check with your local school when you go there.
This might well be the most important thing that the state of New York is doing for their local population. Other states have instituted similar programs, so that those who relied upon food banks or food stamps to get food, and now cannot, are still able to find food for themselves and their families.
This is definitely something that people should be utilizing, to ensure that it continues to be in place to meet the needs of all New Yorkers.
Here are the schools where you can find grab-and-go meals on Staten Island: