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Kevin Dow

By Kevin Dow

Hungry for Summer Resources? Look No Further Than 2-1-1!

Fri, July 01, 2016

summer food resources - girl eating

As the final bell rings, chairs are flung aside and doorways burst with students excited to be officially on summer vacation. It’s a memory most of can recall—rushing home with an empty backpack and end-of-the-year goodies to enjoy, when we were eager to take in summer’s freedom.

But for too many children in our region, summer’s excitement is often overshadowed by a stark reality: the end of free- and-reduced-lunch programs. This break from school means thousands of parents face replacing those meals to ensure their kids don’t go hungry while school is out of session. And unfortunately, worrying about hunger isn’t their only concern. Hot weather means increased energy bills and no school means finding safe and affordable childcare.

That's why when our most vulnerable neighbors don’t know where to turn for help, 2-1-1 is always there. Powered by United Way, 2-1-1 is a free, confidential health and human services referral system with highly-trained staff that can connect individuals to resources that address a vast array of needs. From housing and food assistance to tax preparation and utility assistance, individuals can get critical information they need to provide for their families.

2-1-1 is just one way that United Way works to intervene at critical transition points in community members’ lives and help our neighbors meet their most basic needs.

In addition to 2-1-1, summer meals programs in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey also work to fill that gap when school is out of session, helping to ensure kids have the nutritious food they need to stay healthy all summer.

  • Philadelphia residents: Text “FOOD” to 877877 for information about summer meal sites, or search the map of meal sites here.
  • Southern New Jersey residents: Access summer meal programs through the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ), or can find out when the Hope Mobile Pantry will stop in your neighborhood.

By partnering with United Way, you help to connect children in need to healthy meals that support their learning and growth, when they need it most. Thank you for helping drive measurable, lasting Impact that none of us can achieve alone.