Thursday, June 26, 2014

For Pennsylvania Kids, There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

PHILADELPHIA - Each year, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children get free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school, but during the summer months, four out of five aren't taking advantage of free meals also being offered across the state.

The Free Summer Meals For Kids program is under way, serving up food that children may otherwise go without at thousands of recreation centers, churches, schools and other sites in Pennsylvania, says Julie Zaebst, policy center manager, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

"These are sites around the community where kids 18 and under can go to get a free meal or a free snack," Zaebst explains. "No registration or ID is needed. The program is open to all kids in low-income communities where the program is operating."

As part of the effort to get many more children involved in Free Summer Meals for Kids, this year, families across the state can text 'MealPA' to 877877, to find out where the program is being offered in their communities.

Zaebst says there is also a summer meals hotline set up: 1-855-252-MEAL.

Not only do summer meals contribute to a child's healthy growth and development, but Zaebst says many sites where the meals are provided also offer educational enrichment and recreational activities in a safe environment for children.

Tom Joseph

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