Pittsburgh, PA - As part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to addressing food insecurity of students over the summer, Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera today toured Angels’ Place and met with children learning about gardening, nutrition, and receiving a healthy summer meal.
“During the summer months, food insecurity can become a real problem for children that normally count on school districts for reliable meals,” said Secretary Rivera. “To combat food insecurity, programs like Angels’ Place and other charitable programs fill in that need and provide students with a healthy and nutritious meal.”
Angels’ Place serves the children of single-parent families in Pittsburgh. As part of their self-sufficiency model, Angels’ Place centers each feature gardens, which families can tend to from seed to harvest. Classroom curriculum, planting activities, and fresh food support children’s exposure to nutritious meals. Angels’ Place is sponsored by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that is federally funded and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
In addition to CACFP, the Department recently announced sites where children can get free nutritious meals through the 2018 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the program, which PDE administers it. Last year, Pennsylvania children received more than five million meals from approximately 2,600 food program sites, with $14 million in USDA support.
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.
To combat food insecurity, the Wolf Administration recently awarded $900,000 in grants for more than 200 schools across the commonwealth to implement or expand alternative breakfast programs, and to make breakfast available all students. Currently, over 3,000 Pennsylvania schools report that they offer breakfast, but fewer than half of those schools offer alternative serving methods.
Additionally, in 2016, as part of Governor Wolf’s food security plan, “Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-free PA, the Administration set a goal of ensuring that 60 percent of students who benefit from free and reduced priced school meals also participate in school breakfast by 2020.
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.
For additional information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit PDE's website at www.education.pa.gov/sfsp or call 800-331-0129.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman - 717-783-9802
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