Posted at: 07/02/2012 4:57 PM
| Updated at: 07/02/2012 6:20 PM
By: John McLoughlin
Today's noontime menu in Schenectady included chicken nuggets and fresh fruit:
In Albany, it was turkey or ham on whole wheat. Thousands and thousands of free lunches for kids who often depend on that meal are being served up.
Now that school is out, most of these kids are in serious need of at least one good meal a day, and usually, this is it.
At Jerry Burrell Park in Schenectady there's no mistaking the nuggets for gourmet food, but it's the best most of these kids will get all day
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy was here to officially launch a free summer lunch program that feeds 900 children each day.
About 70 percent of the students in Schenectady schools qualify for free or reduced price lunches, and, with school out volunteers from the inner city ministry and other groups take up the slack.
Here in Albany, the familiar faces of Pastor Charlie Muller and his Victory Christian Church, get reimbursed $2.75 from the federal government for each ham sandwich served along with fruit, juice, milk and cookies.
After they eat, some of the kids will hang around for an hour or more, just to see if they can get seconds, and that's one of the most heartbreaking aspects for the volunteers. Often, the food is not for themselves, but to take home to a hungry parent or sibling and that is not permitted.