By this week’s end, students throughout the Philadelphia region will be finished classes for another school year. As their term ends and summer fun begins, one thing remains constant: the need for all children to have regular, healthy meals.

That’s no guarantee in tough economic times. Families struggling to make ends meet come to rely on free or reduced-price lunches at school from September to June. They find they must stretch their already strained budget further in the summer, and a second or third meal of the day might be unaffordable. Many poor children might go hungry much of the day or eat cheap, unhealthy snacks. {{more}}

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services meets the needs of thousands of hungry children in more than 400 summer programs in the Philadelphia and five-county suburban area through its Summer Feeding Program. NDS is one of the largest local sponsors of this effective partnership with government agencies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture originates the funding and directs it to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from which local sponsors purchase nutritious food and manage the programs efficiently.

It’s a wise use of taxpayers’ money ($2.9 million last summer) to address a need everyone can agree ought to be met.

The program ensures children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches can receive lunch while attending their neighborhood summer program, regardless of whether it is a Church-run program. NDS serves anyone who qualifies.

Those wishing to learn how summer parish programs like Vacation Bible School may qualify for summer feeding should contact NDS at 215-895-3470.