As part of New York City’s free meals program, several outlets are participating in the weekday serving of breakfast and lunch, including Queens Library Branches. The Far Rockaway branch, gives out lunches, not breakfast, to children 18 and under. Serving begins around noon, which typically coincides with special programs they may have like movie and story time. But the real question is, how are these lunches.
The meal is reminiscent of those served at public schools or those given during hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Lunch is served in a plain paper bag and includes a sandwich or a wrap, a side order of fruit, a small salad and chocolate milk. The side order can change but the chocolate milk seems constant.
Diners are not given a choice in the type of meal to select and are asked to register their name in exchange for a meal.
Although the meals have little fanfare, they can be quite satisfying. Diners can embellish their sandwich with components of the salad and dressing and upgrade their sandwich. The fruit side is fresh.
The lunches are a healthier option than fast food. They are enough for one sitting. The library provides a suitable and pleasant environment to consume the lunch. At the Far Rockaway branch, the librarians are very cordial and are kind in their distribution to those in need. The ambiance was nice, no crowds, no waiting.
“It’s a good program. You’re giving people the opportunity to come into a safe space and eat good food,” said Vivanne Smith a teen onsite for the day.
The free meal program is until August 29. For a list of participating sites, contact 311 or nyc.gov.