ESF Dream Camp Foundation Re-Launches Dream Meals Program

Specialty Food Purveyor Carlino’s Market and Celebrity Chef Frankie Celenza partner with ESF Dream Camp to feed families in need

BRYN MAWR, PA — ESF Camps & Experiences this week announced the re-launch of the ESF Dream Camp Foundation Dream Meals Program.

Started in 1998, Dream Camp has provided thousands of under-resourced children and families in Philadelphia, PA and Hartford, CT a place to realize their dreams through innovative and award-winning after-school and summer programs. However, the majority of Dream Campers rely on meals provided by their school, and the pandemic greatly impacted them.

“Food insecurity and hunger pose serious challenges to a child’s health, growth, emotional well-being and overall development,” said Michael J. Rouse, President & Co-Founder, ESF Camps & Experiences. “Pennsylvania is home to 452,690 hungry children, including 75,140 in Philadelphia. More than 119,000 residents in Greater Hartford – including 32,000 kids – also face this distress. This issue was only amplified by COVID-19. We wanted to continue to ensure that Dream Camp families would be able to enjoy proper, nutritious meals.”

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To combat the food insecurity experienced by Philadelphia and Hartford Dream Camp Foundation families, ESF Camps & Experiences and the ESF Dream Camp Foundation partnered with third generation suburban Philadelphia family-owned specialty food purveyor Carlino’s Market in Ardmore, PA, and Celebrity Chef Frankie Celenza to create Dream Meals. Together, the team assembles and delivers healthy meal recipes and kits to select pickup locations, where Dream Camp staff load meals into their cars and home deliver to Dream Camp families. The packages include all the recipes and ingredients needed.

“ESF is committed to making a difference in our campers’ lives and in our communities,” said Rouse. “We take great pride in giving back through our foundations, one of which is the ESF Dream Camp Foundation and the opportunity to feed those in need through the Dream Meals Program.”

Since March of 2020, the ESF Dream Camp Foundation team has delivered close to 25,000 Dream Meals care packages to hundreds of at-risk families weekly that were identified as being in “critical need” of food in both Philadelphia and Hartford. The program had to stop temporarily due to lack of funding, but after raising additional philanthropic support, the program was able to re-launch this spring.

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The initiative has been an overwhelming success, and Dream Camp Foundation families have shared their gratitude.

“I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Tears came to my eyes when I saw those bags. Just knowing someone cares!” said Kiyana, a Dream Camp parent.

Upcoming Deliveries

Deliveries are made at specific pick-up points every Wednesday. Since the re-launch, there have been 5 weeks of deliveries – 48 deliveries per week of 3 family meals per day for the whole week. That amounts to approximately 600 meals per week.

The next delivery is Wednesday, April 21 at the following times and locations:

Dream Camp Location Pick-Up Location Time
Trinity College at Hartford, CT Carlino’s Market
2616 E County Line Rd
Ardmore, PA 19003
9 a.m.
Chestnut Hill College Target Parking Lot
456 N. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
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To learn more about Dream Meals or to make a donation to help feed a family in need, please visit https://www.mightycause.com/story/Dreammeals.

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