NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - The City of New Haven celebrated the start of its summer meals program.
The kickoff event happened at 9:30 a.m. Monday at New Haven City Hall.
“Kids need to know, their families need to know where they can get something to eat," said Billy Bromage of the group Witnesses to Hunger.
Mayor Toni Harp was joined by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, other city officials and officials from Hamden.
The summer meals program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the state Department of Education through New Haven and Hamden public schools.
“One would think that we wouldn’t have to have this conversation in the United States of America, but in fact, we do," DeLauro said.
Officials said the program coincides with summer recess when students who would ordinarily eat at school risk missing meals while school isn't in session.
“It allows kids to be kids," said Mayor Curt Leng of Hamden. "This is what we should be doing.”
The program runs from June 24 through Aug. 16 and is available to any New Haven child 18 years old and younger.
Officials said there are dozens of sites where children can go for a free breakfast or lunch in New Haven and Hamden.
There are also food truck and bus sites for lunch and dinner in the two communities.
“This program gets us to late-summer; however, it ends just short of the school year because schools have to prepare for the beginning of the school year," said Joseph Rodriguez, board member, New Haven Board of Education.
Rodriguez said the board is working on a way to feed the thousands of students once the program ends.
“We are going to work on a solution for those 10 days, so we really want to make sure that we have actually entire coverage for the summer," said Latha Swamy, director, Food System Policy in New Haven.
More information can be found on the program's website here.
For a map of the food locations, check here.