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Gillibrand announces legislation expanding children’s summer meals program

JAMESTOWN – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., appearing Friday at the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown, announced legislation that would provide nutritious meals for more children over the summer months.

The Summer Meals Act would enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Foods Program. In Western New York, 79,689 students typically ate a free or reduced lunch during a school day, but only 17,091 students participated in the summer lunch program.

The bipartisan legislation would lower the threshold to allow areas with 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced lunch to be eligible for the program, expanding eligibility to 3.2 million children. It also would provide transportation to the summer meal sites and offer a third meal to children who attend evening enrichment programs.

“Many children receive their only meal at school during the year, and when school is out for the summer, they go hungry,” Gillibrand said. “Every child who is hungry should have food year round.”