Six of Seven Children in Our Area May Go Hungry This Summer
Local anti-hunger organizations look to fill the gap with feeding programs
Philadelphia, PA, –Hundreds of thousands of kids in the Delaware Valley who receive school meals may go hungry this summer, according to a newly-released study from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). FRAC estimates that only one in seven children who need summer meals will actually receive them.
To help combat hunger, many of the top hunger-fighting organizations in the Delaware Valley will offer summer feeding programs to help feed our community’s children:
- Chester County Food Bank’s (CCFB’s) Summer Student Feeding Program works with 19 community partners, 4 of which are afterschool programs. Through planned delivery, a 15-pound box of non-perishable food is provided for participants, ages 5 to 18. In collaboration with CCFB’s Backpack Program, a school’s participation is utilized as a facilitator to identify children in need as participants. In addition, CCFB’s Fresh2You Mobile Market will travel to nine locations throughout Chester County carrying fresh, high-quality food from local farmers and producers. Fresh2You is open to everyone for shopping and accepts cash, credit/debit, SNAP/EBT, WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers. Visit: https://chestercountyfoodbank.org/programs-education/nutrition-education/fresh2you-mobile-market/
- The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger operates the local Summer Meals Hotline to connect children and teens ages 18 and under to free summer meals in their neighborhood. No registration, ID, or proof of income is required. The hotline will launch once school lets out for the summer. Those who need meals can call 1-855-252-MEAL (6325), or visit www.phillysummermeals.org for a searchable map of open meal sites.
- North Penn School District and Manna on Main Street will offer more than 40 community meal sites, as well as a mobile meal van, delivering free, nutritious meals Monday–Friday to four high-need areas in the community: Hatfield Community Park and Knapp, Oak Park and York Avenue Elementary Schools. All children age 1-18 can eat at these locations and enjoy a healthy lunch to fuel their summer day. By bringing meals to children in their neighborhoods, the mobile meal van reduces food access barriers and helps improve child food security in the North Penn region. To learn more, please visit: www.npenn.org/summerfeeding. Information is available in Bengali, English, Gujarati, Korean and Spanish. The North Penn Grab & Go program is supported by the North Penn United Way, HealthSpark Foundation and the VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn.
- Nutritional Development Services (NDS), an extension of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is a sponsor of the federally-funded Summer Meals Program; providing lunch and breakfast or snack to children 18 years or younger throughout Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs. Meals are available at no cost to many sites and include whole grains, low-fat milk, protein-rich foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables. All meals follow the federal guidelines for nutrition, and lunches provide 1/3 of children’s daily nutritional requirements. This year, NDS’ summer program will run June 19-August 25, with the option for sites to participate for all or a portion of the summer. To find out more on becoming a summer meals provider, please call NDS at 215-895-3470 option 1. To find out where you can secure a meal call the summer meals hotline at 1-855-252-MEAL
- Philabundance’s free farmer’s markets, bring free, fresh produce to those in need at 11 locations around the Delaware Valley all year long. Three of those locations – Souderton, Glassboro and Paulsboro – will also offer free lunch boxes for kids through September 16. Generously sponsored by Giant Our Family Foundation, the KidsBites LunchBox program will offer these free and nutritious meals to kids under the age of 18. View locations: https://www.philabundance.org/learn/about-us/programs/fresh-for-all/
- Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Food Program has been in operation for over 40 years. Each summer, recreation centers, day camps, church groups and neighborhood playstreets (city blocks closed to traffic) receive meals to feed youth ages 18 and under. All meals are free of charge and approved by the USDA and PA Department of Education. Recreation Centers and Church Groups can request breakfast and lunch, lunch and snack or breakfast and snack, while playstreets can receive lunch and snack. For information on becoming a feeding site, contact Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Food Office at 215-685-2719, or 215-685-2720.
- Share Food Program, which supplies food without cost to more than 500 food cupboards serving Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, is using gift cards donated by Giant Food Stores, and funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, to purchase and distribute kid-friendly foods through the cupboard network. Share’s urban farm is growing vegetables and fruit that will be available through its on-site and mobile farm stands. Share’s affordable Package Program enables budget-conscious shoppers to purchase healthy food at well below retail. Share accepts SNAP, Philly Food Bucks, cash and credit cards. Visit www.sharefoodprogram.org, or call 215-223-2220 to learn more.
- YWCA Bucks County Summer Camps provide federally-funded breakfasts and lunches to more than 200 youth for 6 weeks at 6 locations during the summer months. Offered in the most vulnerable communities in Bucks County, these nourishing meals help the participants foster and explore their talents, interests and values through structured activities offered at our full-day camps. In addition, our Lunch & Library sites provide lunches to more than 150 youth at 4 locations for 5 weeks during the summer. During the 2 hour Lunch & Library program, we pair the meals with a literacy and craft activity. Learn more at www.ywcabucks.org
This press release is a collaboration of the above organizations to announce their respective programming to better serve the hungry children in our communities.
The report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, is a ‘summer nutrition status report’ that provides data for all states and looks at national and state trends. This annual report is released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), the leading national organization working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and undernutrition. The report is available online at http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/2017-summer-nutrition-report-1.pdf.