On July 25, Project Bread, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (5th District of Massachusetts) and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) led state and local officials on a tour of the Malden Public Schools (MPS) Food Truck at a Summer Eats stop at Macdonald Stadium. Summer Eats provides free meals for kids and teens at hundreds of sites across Massachusetts. Participating partners, including Malden Public Schools and the Mystic Valley YMCA, help to fund meal sites, which provide anyone under the age of 18 with a free meal a day at Summer Eats locations.
During the event, kids and teens ran over from the Malden recreation sports clinic, and families brought children from the neighborhood to receive free lunch – a hot chicken sandwich – served by school nutrition staff. Congresswoman Clark and other attendees helped serve meals to the dozens of children and teens at the site.
Attendees included Congressman Clark, Project Bread President/CEO Erin McAleer, State Senator Jason Lewis (5th Middlesex District), State Representatives Kate Lipper-Garabedian (32nd Middlesex District), Paul Donato (35th Middlesex District) and Steven Ultrino (33rd Middlesex District), Office of U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey Regional Director Liam Horsman, Mayor Gary Christenson, DESE Special Nutrition Programs Training Coordinator Shannon Raymond, DESE School Nutrition Programs Coordinator Kristina Webber, U.S. Department of Agriculture Regional School Nutrition Program Branch Chief Martine Cherry, MPS Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy, MPS Finance Director Toni Mertz, Malden School Committee Vice Chair Jennifer Spadafora, Ward 5 School Committee Member Adam Weldai and MPS Assistant School Nutrition Director Kate Filteau.
Free school meals have been the number one source of free food throughout the pandemic – a critical resource for the one in five households with children and one in three households of color with children who struggle to afford enough food and rely daily on those free school meals. Community-based organizations like Malden Public Schools have been critical and steadfast local supports during this crisis, providing a wide variety of resources to residents, especially to youngsters and families even when schools are closed.
For more than 20 years, Project Bread, through its Child Nutrition Outreach Program, has worked in partnership with the DESE to provide youngsters with access to Summer Eats across the state. Any child or teen 18 and younger can eat at more than 500 sites statewide for free. No registration or ID is required. Last summer, more than 7.5 million meals were served through the program.
People experiencing food insecurity should call into Project Bread’s toll-free FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential assistance to connect with food resources, including SNAP benefits, in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. For more information, visit www.projectbread.org