Wednesday November 29, 2023
City of Providence Provides No Cost Meals Year-Round at Fifteen Locations
PROVIDENCE, RI– Mayor Brett P. Smiley, Providence City Council President Rachel Miller, Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Public Schools Superintendent Javier Montañez today announced that the City of Providence and RIDE are partnering to expand the community meals program to make free, nutritious meals available to youth in every neighborhood of Providence. Currently, after-school meals are served at all eleven recreation center locations and beginning this month will now be available at four library locations throughout the city.
“Access to proper nutrition is vital for the success, growth and well-being of all of our students,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “Food insecurity can be one of the first barriers to our students’ ability to learn and be successful in the classroom. By expanding our community meals program we are making it easier for student to focus on what matters most– learning.”
This investment will be used to expand the community meals program to four new pilot locations: Knight Memorial Library, South Providence Library, Washington Park Library and Olneyville Library. In total Providence will now be providing free dinners and snacks in fifteen locations across the city, year-round to youth age 18 and under. Meals and snacks are provided by Sodexo and funded by The Child and Adult Care Food Program; a federally funded program administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education.
“Expanding access to healthy food is vital,” said City Council President Rachel Miller (Ward 13). “We want families to know that help is available and to take full advantage of this program to combat hunger this winter.”
“Nutritious meals fuel healthy growth and development, and RIDE is proud to support the City of Providence in this effort to expand access to food in our communities,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “We invite Providence youth to visit their closest meal distribution site if they are in need.”
“Children need healthy meals to learn, and Providence Public Schools is thrilled with this investment into community meals program so more healthy meals will be getting into to Providence students and families,” said Providence Public Schools Superintendent Javier Montañez. “We encourage our families and students to use this wonderful resource.”
In addition to these community meals, the City of Providence Parks and Recreation Departments serve free and nutritious meals to all youth ages 18 and under during summer months as part of the annual EAT, PLAY, LEARN PVD program. This summer, the city served 70,500 lunches at 33+ neighborhood schools, parks, recreation centers, pools and waterparks.
“Sodexo is excited to be partnering with the City of Providence and the Rhode Island Department of Education to expand this important program across four new locations in Providence,” said Mark Jeffrey, District Manager of Sodexo. “Providence is leading the way in making quality, healthy meals available for students in every neighborhood.”
The Community Meals Program is managed by the City of Providence Parks Department who are responsible for training staff, finding new locations to provide meals, vendor management and helping to facilitate inspections of new locations. This pilot program is part of the City’s plans to expand the community meals program to include all nine community libraries by summer of 2024. These library locations will also serve as the sites for meals during days of inclement weather. During inclement weather, families should note that mealtimes and locations may change. Parents and families should call 3-1-1 during business hours to find a meal site in their neighborhood.
For a full list of community meal locations and times visit providenceri.gov/meals.