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Secretary of Education Highlights the Summer Food Service Program at Camp Garrett Visit

Newtown Square, PA - Today, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera joined Senator Thomas McGarrigle (R-Chester/Delaware) at Garrett Williamson’s Camp Garrett program in Newtown Square, where they toured the Videon Educational Garden and met with participants and providers at the camp’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) site.

“It is always a highlight of my job to meet the students and educators of the commonwealth, and today’s visit was no exception,” said Sec. Rivera. “Camp Garrett’s participation in the Summer Food Service Program, along with the other programs and activities it provides to students, demonstrates its commitment to Pennsylvania’s children all year long, even when school is out of session.”

Camp Garrett is a 10-week day-camp that provides activities, projects, and special events for children ages 5-15. The SFSP provides free, nutritious meals to children during the summer months when school is not in session.

“I was happy to visit Camp Garrett today and get to see firsthand the good work happening there,” said Sen. McGarrigle. “Camps like this are a great opportunity to provide children with fun activities in a safe environment while providing nutritious meals when school is not in session."

The US Department of Agriculture administers and funds the SFSP, projecting over 200 million free meals to be served to children ages 18 and under in summer 2017 across the nation.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that there are nearly 3,000 SFSP sites in Pennsylvania serving a total of about 6,000 meals over the season. However, Rivera said it is critical that providers reach more children and narrow the hunger gap that summer may bring by providing more organizations and meal throughout the state, especially in rural areas. 

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.

Under the program participating organizations are reimbursed for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

For more information on Summer Food Service sites and providers, please visit the USDA website at

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, or to read the ESSA Consolidated State Plan, visit the Department of Education’s website at or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Casey Smith - 717-783-9802

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