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December 01, 2021

While schools are closed for winter break, Philly students can still get free meals at rec centers

The city has created a map that residents can use to find the closest sites where food is being distributed

Government Meals
Free school meals holidays woodleywonderworks/Flickr Creative Commons

While Philadelphia schools are closed for the winter holidays, students can continue to receive free meals through the city's Parks & Recreation department. The food will be distributed at select recreation centers around the city on dates that coincide with days the Philadelphia School District is closed this winter and spring.

School meals are an important part of a child's daily diet, particularly for kids whose families struggle with food insecurity.

To stem the hunger and dearth of nutritious food that some children face when schools are closed for the holidays, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation department is making free meals available to all Philadelphia residents younger than 18. The meals will be served at select recreation centers, beginning later in December to coincide with the School District Philadelphia's winter break.

"Winter recess is a time for students to have fun and enjoy time with their family and community," Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said. "No child should go hungry because schools are closed."

So far, a total of 10 days of meal distributions have been scheduled, and Parks & Recreation has created a searchable map showing the rec centers participating in the program.

The meals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis between mid-afternoons and early evenings, and the food must be eaten on site. Families can call individual recreation centers for the exact hours.

Here are the upcoming dates Parks & Recreation will be providing the free meals.

• Winter Break: Monday, Dec. 27 to Thursday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Jan. 1
• Lunar New Year: Tuesday, Feb. 1
• Spring Break: Monday, April 11 to Thursday, April 14