Philadelphia, June 23, 2015 – About 800 sites across the City of Philadelphia have begun distributing free, nutritious meals to thousands of youth as part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option. These USDA programs provide meals and snacks served at a variety of locations throughout the city, including churches, summer camps, and recreation centers.
“The free summer meals program, which started yesterday, provides vital nourishment to young people and their caregivers in our city, ensuring a healthy, fun, and productive time for all,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Summer is a critical time of growth and exploration for youth, and healthy meals give children and teens the energy and focus they need to stay physically active, engage in summertime programming, and keep learning during the break from school.”
Between now and labor day, youth 18 and under, as well as individuals with disabilities 19 and older who are enrolled in a school program, can access free meals at meal sites throughout Philadelphia. To find an open summer meal location, individuals can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877877, call the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger at 1-855-252-6325, or visitwww.phillysummermeals.org.
Meal sites in Philadelphia are sponsored and supported by a coalition of partners coordinated by the Mayor’s Office, including the Department of Parks and Recreation, Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Congregation Beth Solomon, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the Department of Public Health, and many others. The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation oversees the largest number of meal sites of any sponsor in the city, with most of its meal sites participating in the Playstreet program. Playstreet meal sites are city blocks in neighborhoods that are shut down to traffic for part of the day to allow for free play.
The free summer meals program is coordinated in partnership with Fun Safe Philly Summer, the Mayor’s initiative to connect youth throughout Philadelphia with free and low-cost opportunities for summer engagement. Individuals interested in learning more about the summer meals program or operating a summer meals site, as well as people looking to connect young people with free and low-cost summer programs, can visit www.funsafephillysummer.com or call 215-686-2175.