One in five city children does not have enough food to eat, and the problem worsens during the summer months. As NY1's Erin Clarke explains, advocates are getting a little star power help to spread awareness about hunger and point New Yorkers in the direction of free summer meals.
Advocates say 70 percent of city kids who get school breakfast and lunch during the academic year go hungry without those meals in the summer.
"There are hundreds of thousands of my neighbors in Brooklyn who live in homes that can't afford enough food," said Joel Berg, Executive Director at New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
Many do not realize that the free SchoolFood Lunch Program continues throughout the summer at select city pools, parks and playgrounds in all five boroughs.
"It's a national program and in general it has very low participation,” said volunteer Emily Ralston. “We really think that the biggest obstacle to it is that people don't know. They don't know where it is. They don't know what times they're at.”
Anti-hunger advocates and volunteers took to the streets Saturday to raise awareness about the program that feeds kids 18 and under during the summer.
The group also got some star-powered help.
In conjunction with two shows at Madison Square Garden this weekend, the band Dispatch is partnering with national and local organizations like the New York City Coalition Against Hunger for an initiative aimed at engaging fans and the general public in the fight to end hunger in America.
Their concerts cleverly called Dispatch Hunger.
"I think there's something about having a concert where you're bringing so many people together that when everyone's there in the room, you can kind of talk to them and I think people are listening in a different way,” said Pete Francis of Dispatch.
"It's an issue that's all around us, but maybe not in the media, mainstream media,” said Chadwick Stokes of Dispatch. “So it was a way to shed light on that, get some people engaged in a really serious crisis that our country and this city is having."
And volunteers are hitting the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan with that message all throughout this weekend.