Pennsylvania Department of Education, USDA Announce Sites for Children Summer Food Programs

Pennsylvania Department of Education, USDA Announce Sites for Children Summer Food ProgramsSource: USDA

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced the sites where children can get free nutritious meals through the 2020 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the program, which PDE administers. Last year, Pennsylvania children received more than 4.5 million meals from approximately 2,400 food program sites, with $13.5 million in USDA support.

“Food insecurity impacts students year-round, not just when they are in school,” said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “This year the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional pressures for students and caregivers. The Summer Food Service Program helps communities bridge the gap between school years to ensure students have continued access to nutritious meals over the summer and are prepared to return to school healthy.”

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Many students who receive free or reduced cost meals during the school year through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs lack access to healthy and nutritious food during the summer months and are at risk of hunger. Limited access to nutritious food during the summer can have an impact on learning all year long and can make students more susceptible to illness and other health issues.

There are several ways to locate a participating summer meal site:

  • Call the “211” phone number for the National call center.
  • Call “1.866.3Hungry” or “1.877.8Hambre” to find the place and time of free meals.
  • Log onto https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks for locations and times where free meals are to be served.
  • Text “FOOD” to “877877” to find out the nearest SFSP site near your location.
  • Log onto http://www.rangeapp.org/  that is an app used to locate places and times where free meals are served.
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The Summer Food Service Program, which began in 1976, is a federally funded child nutrition program designed to reach those who are age 18 or younger in economically disadvantaged areas. People over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled are also able to receive free meals at the Summer Food Service Program sites.

During his tenure, Governor Wolf has made combating hunger a priority. In 2015 he established the Food Security Partnership, a group comprised of the secretaries of the departments of Aging, Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Education, Health, and Human Services; unveiled the commonwealth’s food security plan – Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-free PA 2016; and introduced the Governor’s School Breakfast Initiative 2017.

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