Philadelphia, December 4, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that more than four million United States Department of Agriculture-funded meals were served to Philadelphia youth between June 16 and August 29, 2014 through the Summer Food Service Program, and that approximately 36,000 free and low-cost summer programming opportunities were promoted on the City’s youth programs website (www.phila.gov/youthprograms) as part of Fun Safe Philly Summer. Fun Safe Philly Summer ensures young people have access to free summer programming, free summer meals, and summer employment and enrichment opportunities. The 36,000 free and low-cost program opportunities promoted on the City’s youth programming website this year represent a 44% increase over summer 2013.
“I am very pleased with the success of Fun Safe Philly Summer and the support of our summer meals and programming providers. Together, we have increased access to free, nutritious meals by 46% over 2011 and promoted positive activities to keep the minds and bodies of our young people strong and healthy during the summer months,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Fun Safe Philly Summer initiative has developed a powerful coalition of youth programming and services providers through greater coordination and planning; I look forward to our continued partnership. We are all working to provide every possible opportunity for Philadelphia youth to be safe, active and healthy.”
During summer 2014, 4,088,515 meals were served to children 18 years old and younger and mentally and physically challenged persons who are enrolled in specialized programs. This number includes 358,477 meals, which were served by the School District of Philadelphia and were not calculated in the City’s total number of summer meals served in previous years. The 2014 total number of meals served represents a 19% increase over summer meals served in 2013, 3,487,306 meals in total, and a 46% increase over Fun Safe Philly Summer’s inaugural year in 2011, in which 2,789,849 meals were served.
Summer meal sponsors and partners include Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the School District of Philadelphia, the Department of Public Health and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. All of the partners work with Fun Safe Philly Summer to promote free summer meals and share best practices and lessons learned among Philadelphia’s meal sponsors, providers and advocates across the city.
This summer, Fun Safe Philly Summer also formed a partnership with the Department of Human Services’ Division of Juvenile Justice Services to engage adjudicated youth in conducting outreach to increase awareness and participation in the Summer Food Service Program.
Additionally, Fun Safe Philly Summer partnered with groups, such as Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Garces Foundation, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Parkside Association, Franklin Paine Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, to host a summer kick-off event and five free “Pop-Up” events throughout the city. The “Pop-Up” events were a pool party, ice skating, skateboarding demonstration, a pump & jump event – incorporating bicycle obstacle courses and a double Dutch demonstration – and the “End of Summer Teen Dance Party” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In total, these events engaged nearly 1,000 young people throughout the summer.
Dr. Beatriz Garces, co-founder of the Garces Foundation, added, “We are thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Fun Safe Philly Summer this past summer and provide the youth with healthy snacks during their exercise. We found this experience to be especially beneficial, as this program is a direct extension of our own programming. Educating and engaging the youth in healthy eating and living habits is one of our priorities, so it was a perfect fit.”
In spring 2014, Fun Safe Philly Summer also hosted a Teen Summer Job & Opportunities Fair at Temple University as a featured event during S.W.A.G. (Students With A Goal) Week. The Fair attracted more than 1,500 youth, ages 14-21, connecting them to more than 550 paid and volunteer opportunities during the summer.
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Fun Safe Philly Summer, Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, city-wide, partnered initiative, provides Philadelphia youth with programming information and opportunities to stay active and engaged all summer long. For more information on the Fun Safe Philly Summer initiative visit: www.funsafephillysummer.com or follow @PhillySummer on Twitter.
Pennsylvania free summer meals program, established in 1975, provides free meals to children from low income families so they may receive the same high quality nutrition during school vacations that they get in school cafeterias during the school year. For more information visit: http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pa_food_and_nutrition_programs/18762/summer_food_service_program/1170556