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Allegheny County Summer Food Program Starts

During the school year, many children in the region depend on school breakfasts and lunches for daily nutrition. When summer hits, it often places a burden on families who may be food insecure. For decades summer food programs have been filling the void. They date back to when Jimmy Carter was president.

“He saw the gap in children who were out of school possibly not receiving nutritious meals so he wanted something they could carry on through the summer until school started again in the fall,” said Sally Petrilli, Allegheny County service administrator.

Allegheny County’s Summer Food program begins Monday June 9 at more than 80 sites.

“Last year we served 137,600 meals to children across Allegheny County outside of the city of Pittsburgh,” said Petrilli, “there are other sponsors, I believe there are seven or eight other sponsors besides Allegheny County in our area that also serve meals.”

The City of Pittsburgh has its own Summer Food Service Program at approximately 125 sites in the city, and other organizations have similar programs. For Allegheny County’s summer food program, students up to 18-years-old must eat their meals on-site.

“They can get a breakfast and/or a lunch at any of the sites across the county, they can be over 18 if they are disable and part of an ongoing school program,” said Petrilli.

Summer Food programs are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition to meals, several sites will include other activities such as basketball clinics and arts and crafts.