What will be the fate of NYC’s free Grab & Go meals?

Schools in New York City are still set to open next month, leaving the fate of free Grab & Go meal programs that have helped senior citizens say fed during the pandemic in question.

“The pandemic is now over and seniors still need nutritious food,” said Margaret Chin, a New York City Council Member.

In March, the city set up “Get Food NYC” which offered free meals for anyone in need including a free delivery service to seniors and homebound New Yorkers, but the registration guidelines to get food delivered have changed. Seniors now have to re-register every two weeks instead of every month.

“Why are we making it more difficult for seniors?” Chin said.

The changes to the home delivery service were made because the city says 2 weeks, instead of 4 better match demands and it was an important change to prevent food from going to waste.

As for the grab-and-go program set up at public schools across the city, Joshua Goodman, a spokesperson for the sanitation department, whose commissioner is overseeing the city’s food response says even though in-person classes are set to resume next month, the program will remain.

“New York City believes no New Yorker should go hungry due to the pandemic, and we have distributed over 120 million meals to people in need since late March,” Goodman said in a statement. “Our popular Grab & Go program will continue in the fall.”

Officials will be working with the Department of Education to figure out the specifics of how Grab & Go can operate safely while students are in the buildings. Details are expected to be announced soon. 

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