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.
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