Free summer meal sites for Philly kids and teens open next week

A sign outside Lovett notes that free meals are available for kids during the summer.

File photo: A sign outside Lovett notes that free meals are available for kids during the summer. (Brianna Michelle Bosak and Elizabeth Diane Sim/for NewsWorks)

With Philadelphia public schools out for the summer, kids no longer have access to free school breakfasts and lunches. The city is launching its free summer student meal program next week to fill the gap.

“When school is not in session, thousands of Philadelphia students need access to nutritious meals,” said Deputy Mayor of Philadelphia’s Office of Children and Families Vanessa Garrett Harley, in a statement.

Officials with the city’s Office of Children and Families announced Friday that hundreds of child and youth meal sites will open across the city this summer — most on June 21. The locations will be announced online June 20. Additional sites will be added as they are confirmed.

All kids and teens up to age 18 can receive food from the sites, and no student ID is required.

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The pre-pandemic food insecurity rate for Philadelphia children was 24% — much higher than the nationwide average of just over 14%, according to Feeding America.

“Hunger never takes a break, even when school is out,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell in a statement.  “Providing free summer meals is a key part of our summer programming for children and youth.”

This summer’s student meal program is a collaboration between the city’s Office of Children and Families, Department of Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Nutritional Development Services, and Philabundance.

Most food will need to be eaten on site, due to regulations of the USDA, which helps fund the program.

Families can find other resources for free meals for kids and teens through the Coalition Against Hunger’s Summer Meals Hotline at 215-770-4659 or through the No Kid Hungry Campaign’s text line by texting “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304.

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