1000+ Organizations Will Give Away Free Summer Meals to Kids - Generocity Philly

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Jun. 24, 2015 2:15 pm

1000+ Organizations Will Give Away Free Summer Meals to Kids

Yearly cross-sector initiatives feeds kids through summer months

(Left-right) Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Earl “Buddy” Hance, Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and other city, state and federal leaders serve lunches to children at Hamilton Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, MD on Friday, Jul. 11, 2014. The visit highlights the USDA national campaign to expand access to healthy meals in the summer months and the Department’s efforts to reduce the impacts of poverty and food insecurity. Hamilton Elementary Middle School in Baltimore, MD on Friday, Jul. 11, 2014. The school welcomes children age 18 and under and individuals 19 years and over whom have mental or physical disabilities to Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites, such as this one during the hours of 8-8:30 AM and 11 AM – 12 Noon, during the summer school vacation period. A list of current locations in Baltimore can be seen at https://marswebprod.msde.state.md.us/MARS_SiteSearch/SummerSitesList.aspx?year=2014. SFSP is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that helps children receive the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow throughout the summer months. The SFSP provides reimbursement to agencies for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program, or when 50 percent of children enrolled in a program qualify. Most agencies may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks a day per child. Some, including migrant programs and camps, may be reimbursed for up to three meals daily per child. SFSP agencies include private nonprofit organizations, government agencies, public or nonprofit school systems, and summer camps. More information can be seen at http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp. USDA photo by Lance Cheung. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

At a press conference held on June 23, at the Aquinas Center in South Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter announced the start of a yearly cross-sector initiative to provide free meals to kids through the summer months at locations around the city.

Free meals are now available during set times at over 1,000 sites located at recreation centers, housing projects, churches, schools and community organizations. All sites received program training from the Department of Parks and Recreation or the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The program uses guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture, which also provides funding.

The sites are located in areas where at least 50 percent of children participating are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

In the last three years, free summer meals programs have grown nationally. Participation dipped in 2009 as states cut child welfare programs due to the recession, according a report by the Food Research & Action Center, but began to bounce back starting in 2012. The same report found that Pennsylvania ranks 12th in participation in the program.

A searchable map of all the locations on the Coalition for Hunger website. Or call the toll-free Philly Free Summer Meals hotline at 1-855-252-6325 for more information.

 

Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture

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