In response to the coronavirus outbreak and the closure of city schools, the School District of Philadelphia announced plans to provide meal service and drop-in activity space for students over the next two weeks while schools are closed.
Philadelphia School District students will have the opportunity to get up to two grab-and-go meals at 30 schools across the city, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and noon.
According to the district, essential personnel including a school police officer and other support staff will be on-site to distribute meals to students and families.
“We encourage any school district families interested in obtaining breakfast and lunch meals for their students to visit these meal distribution sites,” said Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. “We are eager to help support families during this difficult time and urge them to take advantage of the resources provided throughout the city.”
The city’s Health Department announced on Saturday that an additional confirmed case was found in Philadelphia, bringing the total to four. The city is awaiting test results from an additional 56 cases. The district announced on Friday that all public schools would be closed through March 27. In South Philadelphia, students can visit Delaplaine McDaniel School at 1801 S. 22nd Street; George Sharswood School at 2300 S. 2nd Street, and Vare-Washington Elementary School at 1198 S. 5th Street for grab-and-go meals but are welcome at any of the city’s other locations which can be found on the district’s website at phila.gov and a map is available at http://bit.ly/youth-meal-sites.
In addition, the city will open 50 city-owned facilities, including gyms and recreation centers, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. over the next two weeks. The sites will provide safe spaces where students, 18-and-under, can drop-in for activities and staff will offer limited meals at 3 p.m. These sites will be staffed by Parks & Recreation team members, but officials warn they should not be considered a substitute for childcare.
South Philadelphia locations such as East Passyunk Recreation Center at 1025 Mifflin Street, Guerin Recreation Center at 2201 S. 16th Street, Hawthorne Cultural Center at 1200 Carpenter Street, Marian Anderson Recreation Center at 740 S. 17th Street, Murphy Recreation Center at 300 Shunk Street, Palumbo Recreation Center at 725 S. 10th Street, Starr Garden Playground at 600 Lombard Street, Are Recreation Center at 2600 Morris Street, and Wharton Square at 2300 Wharton Street are taking part in this initiative.
“No child should go hungry because they are not in school,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The City and School District will continue to do everything we can to make sure our students’ basic needs are met during this challenging time. I ask Philadelphians to continue looking out for one another by sharing resources like this with their loved ones and neighbors.”
All Parks & Recreation sites not included on the city’s full list, which can be found at https://www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-parks-recreation/ will be closed to the public starting on Monday. It includes environmental education centers, Carousel House, and ice rinks. Libraries are closed to the public, effective on Saturday. The city’s six older adult centers will open on a regular schedule (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for meal service.
Residents with questions can call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-(800) 722-7112. The free 24-hour helpline is staffed by trained healthcare providers and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the public and healthcare providers, to help answer all of their questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus. Residents can get COVID-19 updates sent to their phones. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive free alerts with information and updates from the Health Department. Information is also being updated daily on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s webpage www.phila.gov/covid-19.