Around Town

Free summer student meal program have begun

Mayor Jim Kenney joined the city Office of Children and Families and Parks & Recreation, together with the American Dairy Association North East and former Eagles player Jason Avant, to celebrate the kickoff of the city’s summer meal program. Run in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Nutritional Development Services and other partners, the city will offer more than 300 child and youth meal sites this summer. This citywide and community based effort will ensure that all children and youth have access to free, healthy meals until the next school year begins. A full list and finder of student meal sites for summer is at

Kenney said, “When school is not in session, thousands of Philadelphia students need access to nutritious meals. We are grateful to the partners and volunteers working with us to ensure there are free meals available to children at more than 300 meal sites across the city this summer.”

Residents should know:

New sites will be added to as they are confirmed, so continue to check back.
All children and youth up to age 18 in Philadelphia are eligible. No student ID is required.
Meal distribution days and times vary by site. Families should call ahead or visit the site to confirm the schedule.
Meals must be eaten on-site due to USDA regulations. Most student meals are funded through the USDA’s Summer Food Services Program.
Vanessa Garrett Harley, deputy mayor of the Office of Children and Families, said, “The summer meals program reaches every corner of our city, a credit to our large network of volunteers and partner organizations. I want to thank everyone involved for providing healthy meals to our youth and your commitment to tirelessly distribute meals.”

The public is encouraged to confirm locations and schedules by calling 311 or visiting before going to a site. Residents can also find free summer meal sites by calling the Summer Meals Hotline at 215-770-4659, operated by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, or residents can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 to find a summer meal site. Families will receive a text back with the three closest meal sites. It is run by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

“Hunger never takes a break, even when school is out. That’s why Parks & Recreation is committed to providing hundreds of summer meal sites for children this summer through our PlayStreets, PlayParks, recreation centers and summer camps,” said Interim Parks & Recreation Commissioner Orlando Rendon. “Providing free summer meals is a key part of our summer programming for children and youth.”

Scanlon reintroduces Equality Act for LGBTQI+ people

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined every Democratic member of the House of Representatives in reintroducing the Equality Act, comprehensive civil rights legislation that would prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBTQI+ community in the areas of employment, education, credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accommodations. The House passed the Equality Act with bipartisan support in both the 116th and 117th Congresses.

“No matter an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, they should be able to enjoy life free from discrimination,” said Scanlon. “As LGBTQI+ people continue to be attacked from every direction in state legislatures and in Congress, I am committed to not just pushing back against these attacks but also pushing equality forward. The introduction of the Equality Act sends a clear message that LGBTQI+ people deserve the same protections from discrimination as every other marginalized group. As a proud vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, I will not stop fighting to make the Equality Act the law of the land.”

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQI+ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit and jury service. The Equality Act would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in public accommodations and federally funded programs. By expanding the definition of public accommodations in the Civil Rights Act, the bill would not only strengthen protections on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics), but on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion.

Girls Inc. receives $35K grant 

Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, a nonprofit organization based out of the Bok Building in South Philly that equips girls to navigate gender, economic and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated and independent, has been named a 2023 Champion in Action in the category of Youth Summer Workforce Programming. The award includes $35,000 in unrestricted funding as well as significant promotional and volunteer support in recognition of the organization’s critical work.

“Engaging Philadelphia’s youth is a crucial component in developing the workforce of the future,” said Rhonda Bettis, Citizens’ Retail Banking Director for Greater Philadelphia. “We are investing in Girls Inc. because they are a trusted resource in inspiring and connecting young women to meaningful careers.”

Girls Inc. responds to the changing needs of girls through research-based programs and public education efforts that empower girls to understand, value and assert their rights. They implement healthy decision making, academic enrichment, life skills instruction and post-secondary readiness programs for girls ages 5-18 and continue to mentor alumnae through college and early career. Their programs are delivered during school hours, after-school, on Saturdays and during the summer. Girls Inc. will use the Champions in Action funding to expand its 2023 professional development and summer internship programs to 60 participants.

“Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. We provide programs for girls ages 5-18 and continuing mentorship through college and early career through Project Accelerate (PA). A cornerstone of PA is paid summer internships. These experiences help change the trajectory for these young women,” said Dena Herrin, executive director of Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “We are so grateful for the generosity of Citizens through the Champion in Action award that will enable us to offer more of these meaningful opportunities. We are excited to see how the awesome women participating will thrive and redefine equity in the Greater Philadelphia region and across the nation.”

Citizens created the Champions in Action program to address the unique social challenges facing the communities it serves. The initiative rewards established nonprofit organizations to help them reach the next level. Over more than 20 years, the program has awarded upward of $10 million in contributions and promotional support to more than 370 nonprofits across the bank’s footprint. In Greater Philadelphia alone, 55 nonprofits have been honored, receiving more than $1.5 million in funding.

English classes for Ukrainians

Holy Family University’s English as a Second Language initiative for newly arrived Ukrainian adults is accepting new applicants. The classes are free and open to members of the community who are at least 18 years old. Classes are at 9801 Frankford Avenue and online. Class days and times are online (through Aug. 24, Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7 p.m.) and in person (through July 31, Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.). Since last fall, more than 100 newly arrived Ukrainians have attended classes at no cost to help them improve their English proficiency and become familiar with the Philadelphia community. Interested applicants can register at ••

Hoops camp for boys and girls

The 17th annual Jaguar St. Ephrem Basketball Camp for Boys and Girls will take place from Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28. The cost is $150 and includes a basketball and T-shirt. The camp is held in the air-conditioned Marian Center at St. Ephrem Parish, 5400 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. The camp is under the direction of former college coach Dan Williams. For more information, email Williams at ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise from Oct. 6-17, visiting Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Italy. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,298 to $8,098 per person, double occupancy. Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or ••

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. ••