Encourages Philadelphia youth to participate in summer programming and free meals rnrnPhiladelphia, May 29, 2014– Mayor Michael A. Nutter kicked off the 2014 Fun Safe Philly Summer campaign, an initiative that connects youth and their families to free and low-cost summer programming; and promotes access to free summer meals. The kick-off event, held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, included free field-day events for youth and healthy snacks provided by the Garces Foundation, ShopRite Baker’s Square, Thriftway of Hope Plaza and Rita’s Water Ice.rnrn“Fun Safe Philly Summer has become a go-to resource for youth and the adults in their lives to find opportunities for young people to remain engaged, active and healthy during the summer,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Whether it’s sports, reading, arts or social activities, we want to provide young people with opportunities to have a meaningful summer, in which they stretch their minds and bodies, find new interests and meet new friends.”rnrnFun Safe Philly Summer, now in its third year, is a collaborative project across City agencies, departments and external partners. The initiative identifies structured programming, like camps, sports teams and reading circles; and drop-in activities, open to anyone, like a visit to a public library, using a computer at a KEYSPOT community center and more.rnrn“It is a priority of this Administration, that Philadelphia’s young people have access to many free opportunities to have fun, get involved, learn, and stay active and healthy during the summer,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources and Parks & Recreation Commissioner. “That is why the Department of Parks and Recreation is the largest sponsor of the Summer Food Service Program, which offers free lunch and snacks to children, so they can have the nutritious food they need.”rnrnFun Safe Philly Summer works closely with local, state and national partners to ensure access to free summer meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, to children 18 years of age and younger and mentally and physically challenged persons who are enrolled in specialized programs. In Philadelphia, fewer than half of the students who obtain free school lunches take advantage of free summer meals. Youth and parents can text “MEALPA” to 877877 to find locations for free summer meals in their community. This year, the Nutritional Development Services (the Archdiocese summer meals group) will begin distributing summer meals on June 16th and at all other locations on June 23rd.rnrn“When school is out during the summer months, many families struggle to feed their children even one nutritious meal a day,” said Pat Dombroski, Food and Nutrition Service Regional Administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture. “Today, we join our valued partner, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in his tireless efforts to raise awareness about the nutrition gap low-income children face when schools close for the summer. The City of Philadelphia does a great job with the summer program; making sure children have access to nutritious food year-round.”rnrnCarol Williams, Board member of the Garces Foundation, added “Our goal is to educate and empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices; however, this can’t happen without access to affordable meals. We are proud to be a sponsor of the Fun Safe Philly Summer Kickoff and hope to further the Mayor’s mission by providing free summer field trips to Luna Farm where kids can harvest their own produce and learn to cook their own healthy meals.”rnrnIn addition, Fun Safe Philly Summer will host “Pop Up” events in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Philadelphia Soul and other partners. The 2014 Fun Safe Philly Summer “Pop Up” events will be hosted from 5-8pm, the dates and locations are as follows:rnrnWednesday, July 9th – Philadelphia Soul Football and Cheer Clinic at Chew Playground, 1800 Washington Avenue;rnWednesday, July 23rd – Pool Party at Mander Playground, 2140 N 33rd Street;rnWednesday, July 30th – Skateboarding Skills Demonstration at Paine’s Park, Schuylkill River Trail;rnWednesday, August 6th – Ice Skating at Scanlon Ice Rink, 1099 E. Tioga Street; andrnWednesday, August 13th – Pump & Jump at the Pumptrack, 53rd and Parkside Avenue.rnrnFun Safe Philly Summer is an Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, city-wide, partnered initiative to provide Philadelphia youth with programming and opportunities to stay active and engaged all summer long. To find, available programming, fun, free activities and a summer meal location near you, log on or follow FSPS on Twitter @PhillySummer.