Most students and parents welcome the end of the school year.  Summer provides an extended break from the hectic pace of the academic calendar: classes, homework, tests, repeat. But for many students in Philadelphia, the end of the school year also means the end of school breakfast and lunch, and with it, the end of knowing for sure that they will have something to eat every day.  Responding to this need, Nutritional Development Services (an agency of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and a sister organization of Catholic Social Services) provides summer food to children.

NDS Food Programs

During the academic year, Nutritional Development Services (NDS) partners with over 100 parochial, charter and faith-based schools throughout the southeastern region of Pennsylvania to administer government funded school food programs. On an average day 17,000 lunches and 7,600 breakfasts are served to children 18 and under in these schools.

NDS also uses it expertise to connect childcare centers, after-school programs, emergency shelters, and other organizations to similar federally-funded child nutrition programs.  They have the same high nutrition standards required of the USDA and are also administrated by the PA Dept. of Education.

The Community Food Program of NDS addresses food insecurity of children and adults by supporting around 50 food pantries and other feeding agencies.  It also sponsors a variety of food distributions.  The Community Food Program is funded primarily by private donations from individuals, and by food drives of schools, and parishes, etc.

Food Service Program

During the academic year, Nutritional Development Services (NDS), a sister organization of Catholic Social Services (CSS) and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, partners with 103 parochial, charter and small Christian schools throughout the southeastern region of Pennsylvania to administer government funded school food programs. On an average day 17,000 lunches and 7,600 breakfasts are served to children under age 18 in these schools.

 

The mission of NDS is to feed children and those in need by connecting resources with those in need of resources. Connecting federally funded programs with area schools, childcare centers, shelters, and community-based centers is one of the ways NDS pursues its mission.

In addition, NDS sponsors the Community Food Program. This program also supplies desperately needed nutrition, and it is funded by private donations from individuals, schools, and parishes.

Summer Meal Programs

Childhood nutrition needs don’t stop during summer break, so NDS offers the “Seamless Summer Option” (SS0) just as it has done for the past forty-plus years.  This federal government program allows school food authorities like NDS to carry the benefits of the National School Meals Program into the summer months, thereby preventing food insecurity for children.  NDS has served between 14,000 and 15,000 children each day through this program, which is currently free to participants in qualified areas.

Summer Meal Sites

Summer meals provided by NDS, just like the meals provided to schools during the academic year, adhere to government guidelines for meeting the nutritional needs of children.  Breakfasts and lunches are delivered ready-to-eat, with no cooking required.  NDS will provide coolers and ice for sites that do not have refrigeration.

Any organization or program that is interested in providing meals to children can sign up by calling 215-895-3470, option 1.  The program will run between June 21st and August 26th.  There will be virtual training, minimal paperwork, and healthy meals all summer long.

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Amy Adams
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