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By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As most of us idle away summer evenings and weekends enjoying freshly prepared food outdoors, many school-age children in Philadelphia are wondering where their next meal is coming from.  During the school year they may qualify for free breakfast and lunch programs, but now school is out until September.

Today, US senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) was in town to draw attention to the Summer Food Service Program.

During the school year, he pointed out, 21 million kids across the country get free lunches, but that drops off to just three million over the summer.

“The good news is that Philadelphia has a much lower drop-off, from about 127,000 to 54,000,” Casey noted, adding, “but even that is unacceptable.”

The city has about 900 sites open throughout the summer to give kids under the age of 18 a free lunch at noon, and snacks at 3pm (see related story).

Susan Slawson, first deputy director of the city’s recreation programs, says that last summer the city served 3.4 million free meals to schoolkids.   And she noted that she herself benefited from a similar program years ago.

“I was able to get a free meal as an eight, nine, ten-year-old, on a play street,” she recalls, “so I recognize how important these programs are.”

Fore more information you can call 1-855-252-MEAL or go to the web site phillysummermeals.com, or text “MealPA” to 877877.


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