The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services serves up summer meals for kids at hundreds of sites throughout the area. On Tuesday, at one Catholic school camp, Monsignor Daniel Sullivan led young diners in the annual blessing of summer. The theme was peace.
Squirming in their seats, the children repeated: “From war and violence, deliver us and grant your children peace.”
Sullivan says he hopes that the boxed lunch and today’s prayer will translate into a more peaceful community. “It’s an opportunity for us to feed them, to give them nourishment so that they have the strength, the energy, the psyche, to become peaceful people,” he said. “A lot of these children live in the midst of violence. That’s the reality of their life. It doesn’t need to be the reality of how they live. In Philadelphia, nearly half of all eligible children participate in summer lunch programs. While that’s almost triple the national rate, researchers say it’s still not enough. Sponsors such as the Archdiocese will provide millions of meals to kids this summer. Kids Like 9-year-old Christopher Campoverde.
“My teachers tell me that me that when you don’t eat stuff your brain can’t concentrate and you cannot learn nothing.” He says he notices the difference when he’s hungry. “When I eat lunch my brain feel relaxed and happy and…to learn new stuff.”
You can find summer meal locations throughout the city by calling 311, or visiting www.pasummermeals.com.