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More Muslim students in New York City will have access to halal meals now that 11 additional public schools have been certified to serve food meeting the faith’s dietary standards, Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter announced Monday.
The certification was made possible under a DOE pilot program launched two years ago bringing halal food in 32 schools across the five boroughs. Now, a total of 43 schools across the city offer halal meals, with the most recent additions serving students in Harlem, Jamaica and Jackson Heights in Queens, and Soundview, Bronx.
“As we come off the holy month of Ramadan, I am excited to celebrate the expansion of our program that certifies public school kitchens to serve halal meals,” said Porter. “Our incredible food service team continues to find ways to innovate and provide our students with healthy, nutritious, and culturally responsive meals, and I’m proud we are able to expand our meal service to meet the needs of even more observant students across the city.”
The program was created in partnership with the Islamic Leadership Council of New York which inspects school kitchens and trains staff to properly separate, store, prepare and serve halal meals. As part of the training program, school kitchen staff are also given a theological understanding of Islam and what it means to be halal, or adhering to Islamic law.
“This program is essential to the health and wellbeing of New York Muslim students, and we are happy to see it expand just as Eid passes,” said Raja Abdulhaq, executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York. “The religious identity of all students should be respected, and we are happy to work with the Department of Education to provide this for Muslim students. We look forward to continuing our work together on this project to ensure our students always find lunch that fits their dietary needs.”
One out of every eight New York City public school students is Muslim, according to a 2018 Halal and Kosher food pilot proposal from Comptroller Scott Stringer.
While it is unclear how many students adhere to halal dietary restrictions, it’s possible that thousands of public school students are unable to take advantage of free school lunches because of their religious beliefs — a particularly worrisome issue given the high rate of food insecurity among New York City children.
According to data from the Food Bank of New York City, one in five children relies upon a soup kitchen or food pantry to eat.
Although the DOE has been slow to increase the number of schools are halal certified, the department has offered other options for students. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the department opened over 500 meal hubs across the city which all served halal and kosher meals.
The newly certified schools will offer takeout halal meals for students and other members of the community, DOE officials said.
Here is a complete list of all certified schools:
(New) PS 119 – 1075 Pugsley Avenue
PS/IS 194 – 2365 Waterbury Avenue
MS 127 (JHS 127) – 1560 Purdy Street
PS 106 Parkchester – 1514 Olmstead Avenue
Fannie Lou Hamer – 1021 Jennings Street
PS 47 – 1794 East 172 Street
PS159 – 2781 Pitkin Avenue
PS 214 2944 Pitkin Avenue
PS 179 202 Avenue C
JHS 062 Ditmas – 700 Cortelyou Road
PS 170 – 619 72nd Street
PS/IS 104 – 9115 5 Avenue
PS 253 – 601 Oceanview Avenue
PS 119 Amersfoort – 3829 Avenue K
PS 217 – 1100 Newkirk Avenue
PS 139 – 330 Rugby Road
(New) PS 112 – 535 East 119 Street
(New) The Lexington School – 131 East 104 Street
(New) PS 83 – 219 East 109 Street
PS 36 – 123 Morningside Drive
JHS 52 – 650 Academy Street
PS 132 – 185 Wadsworth Avenue
PS 8 – 465 West 167 Street
PS 4 – 500 West 160 Street
PS 192 – 500 West 138 Street
PS 64 – 82-01 101 Avenue
IS 210 – 93-11 101 Avenue
IS 137 – 109-15 98 Street
PS 100 – 111-11 118 Street
PS 117 – 85-15 143 Street
Thomas Edison HS – 165-65 84 Avenue
Hillcrest High School – 160-05 Highland Avenue
JHS 8 Richard S Grossley – 108-35 167 Street
(New) J.H.S 217 Robert A. Van Wyck – 85-05 144 Street
(New) P.S 182 – 153-27 88th Avenue
(New) M.S 358 – 88-08 164th Street
IS 238 Susan B Anthony – 88-15 182 Street
(New) P.S 095 – 179-01 90 Avenue
(New) P.S 131 Abigail Adams – 170-45 84 Avenue
PS 69 – 77-02 37 Avenue
(New) P.S 280 – 34-20 94th Street
Curtis High School – 105 Hamilton Avenue
PS 22 – 1860 Forest Avenue
CSI High School – 100 Essex Drive