Fun Safe Philly Summer touts another successful season
Philadelphia, December 17, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that 4.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded summer meals served to Philadelphia youth across 1,453 meal sites in summer 2015. This represents a 7.4-percent increase in the number of meals served and a 12.5-percent increase in the number of meal sites compared with summer 2014.
In addition, Fun Safe Philly Summer promoted nearly 43,000 free and low-cost opportunities for youth engagement, including recreational, employment and enrichment programming. This represents a nearly 20-percent increase in summer opportunities advertised since summer 2014.
“Providing access to free summer meals for Philadelphia youth is crucial to ensure that our children have the nutrition they need to grow, learn and be healthy,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am overwhelmed by the commitment and energy of Philadelphia’s strong summer meals coalition – they have, yet again, increased access and use of free summer meals. Since 2011, as a city we have increased participation by more than 55%. I would like to thank all of our committed partners for working together to help give young Philadelphians the support they need to succeed and stay engaged.”
In total, 4,392,453 meals were served in summer 2015 to children 18 years-old and younger and mentally and physically challenged persons who are enrolled in specialized programs. There were 30 summer meals sponsors in 2015, including Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services, the School District of Philadelphia, Congregation Beth Solomon and the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
Laura Wall, Executive Director for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, a coalition partner that hosts a city-wide summer meals hotline said, “Philadelphia’s network of Summer Meal Sponsors is wide and deep, helping to ensure evermore Philadelphia youth have access to USDA-funded free summer meals. We look forward to next summer as we continue to stem child hunger in Philadelphia.”
Last summer, Fun Safe Philly Summer formed a new partnership with Team First Book Philadelphia, Foster Grandparents and select outdoor meal sites to launch the Playstreet Book Club Program providing children with five free, take-home books and weekly literacy activities to help address summer reading loss among children while increasing the appeal of outdoor summer meal sites. The program provided approximately 3,000 books to more than 600 children at 16 meal sites during summer 2015.
Fun Safe Philly Summer, with the support of AmeriCorps VISTAs, conducted significant on-the-ground outreach in high-need Philadelphia neighborhoods to share information with interested families about nearby meal site locations. In summer 2015, VISTAs walked more than 30 miles in the neighborhoods of Point Breeze and Hunting Park to alert people to their nearest meal site locations.
For more information on USDA-funded summer meals in Philadelphia and for more information about summer programming, call 3-1-1 or log on to www.funsafephillysummer.com. Follow Fun Safe Philly Summer on Twitter @PhillySummer.
About Fun Safe Philly Summer
Fun Safe Philly Summer is an initiative of the Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter that provides Philadelphia’s youth with resources and opportunities for staying active and engaged all summer long. To get information on free and low-cost programs and activities, youth employment, and the free summer meals program, visit www.funsafephillysumer.com or follow Fun Safe Philly Summer on Twitter @PhillySummer.