Free Summer Meals for Kids

What are Summer Meals?

There are more than 1,000 places in Philadelphia that serve free, nutritious breakfast, lunch, snack, and/or supper to kids and teens when school is out. Summer Meals are provided at no cost to sites through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. 

Sites include playgrounds, parks, faith-based organizations, community centers, recreation centers, day camps, Playstreets, public housing complexes, child care centers, senior centers, and other community organizations.

Why are Summer Meals important?

During the school year, thousands of low-income students eat free or reduced-price meals at schools. But when school is out and kids aren’t receiving that food, children face higher risks for hunger and malnutrition. Summer Meals help to fill that gap, so kids have the nutritious food they need to stay healthy all summer.

When does the program operate?

June to early September, but sites can choose how long to run from one week to the entire summer. Sites can also choose their meal times.

Who can get Summer Meals?

Kids and teens ages 18 and under, as well as disabled persons over 18 who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled. There are no income, ID, or registration requirements for children at open sites in qualifying areas.  

How do I find my nearest Summer Meals site?

  • Visit 
  • Check back in June 2015 for an update on how to find your nearest Summer Meals site.

Can I start a Summer Meals site in my community?  

If you plan to work with children age 18 and under this summer, you may qualify to serve them free meals.

The following Philadelphia sponsors can work with you:

  • Philadelphia Parks and Recreation: 215-685-2725
    • Runs the Playstreets program (city blocks closed to traffic to provide meals and activities.)
  • Nutritional Development Services (NDS), Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 215-895-3470, option 1
    • Works with a wide variety of summer programs and outdoor neighborhood meal sites.
    • NDS Summer Meals site

Still have questions? Call the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger: 1-855-252-MEAL. 

What are the responsibilities of a Summer Meals site? 

  • Attend a program training by a sponsor. Trainings usually begin in May.
  • Decide how many weeks to provide meals.
  • Help promote summer meals in your community.
  • Follow USDA guidelines to hand out meals.
  • Supervise meal service and site activities.

Questions? Contact the Coalition Against Hunger: 855-252-MEAL.

Summer meals are made available by the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option. Philadelphia sponsors include the Department of Parks & Recreation; Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia; and the Philadelphia Housing Authority.