SARATOGA COUNTY — CAPTAIN Community Human Services and its partners kicked off this year’s Free Summer Meals Program on Wednesday, June 7, at Mechanicville Elementary School.
On average, families spend $316 more on food during the summer months according to No Kid Hungry and the Center for Best Practices. The summer months also bring additional costs for childcare or summer camp for youth that would otherwise be in school.
According to No Kid Hungry, offering free summer meals not only improves physical health, but can have benefits for mental and emotional well-being. In addition, the program has long-term impacts, including increased high school graduation rates and reduced number of chronic disease.
The Free Summer Meals Program has been provided by CAPTAIN CHS since 1991, originating at the Community Outreach Center, Cheryl’s Lodge. It wasn’t until United Way of the Greater Capital Region funding was available that CAPTAIN CHS was able to expand and begin serving all of Saratoga County. In 2020, CAPTAIN CHS served over 17,000 meals throughout Saratoga County.
Managed by the NYS Department of Education under the direction of and through funding from the USDA, this year Free Summer Meals will be provided to youth 18 and under at 20 different locations in Saratoga County through Sept. 3. Open site locations include Cheryl’s Lodge, D&R Village, the Greenfield Community Center, Kayadeross Acres, Louden Oaks, Malta Gardens, the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Mechanicville Housing Authority/JS Moore Homes, North Pointe Apartments, Park Avenue Playground, Pyramid Pines, Saratoga Hills, Saratoga Village, the Schuylerville Public Library, and the Waterford Town Pool. Other sites are available to local children in designated areas. All open sites are listed on the CAPTAIN CHS website at www.captaincares.org/summermeals or families can call 518-371-1185 for more information.