Yesterday we joined New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at P.S. 20 in Manhattan to launch our comprehensive marketing and organizing effort to increase participation in summer meals. Only 30 percent of the school children in New York City who get a free or reduced price lunch during the school year, participate in the summer meals program when the schools are closed. And while that is almost twice the national average of 16 percent, the public-private partnership represented at yesterday’s press conference believes NY can do much better.
Chancellor Walcott praised Share Our Strength’s leadership and committed to the goal of increasing participation over last year’s level by attracting more children to more strategically selected sites. Our campaign, which includes posters, banners, public service announcements by NY Knicks guard Chauncey Billups, will also include NY’s first ever canvass for summer meals as fan out through targeted neighborhood on July 16 to make more families aware of this opportunity for their children. It is a lot like a political campaign but without the mudslinging and negative ads. Instead there is only one winner: New York City’s children.