Philabundance, PAL partner to provide free summer lunches

Some local non-profits and businesses are making us Philly Proud, by partnering to help provide free meals this summer to students in need.

Cheer Camp is in session at the 26th District Police Athletic League Center!

"These are our young ladies who have come into our PAL center to participate in our cheer program, says Lt. Jarreau Thomas, Commanding Officer of Police Athletic League. "These are our young ladies from the community who want to take time out to spend time with the police officer in our PAL centers. You know they start activities such as these which are non-enforcement related activities that help us reach our children. Making these connections is critical in order to develop good community relationship."

And with all the cartwheels, jumps, flips and stunts, these students can certainly build up an appetite!

But when thousands of students in Philadelphia go on summer break, they lose their provided school lunches for June, July and August -- contributing to the region's food insecurity.

"A lot of times people talk about summer they think going to the shore and family vacations but there are a lot families who really dread the summer because their children are reliant on school breakfasts lunches," says Stef Arck-Baynes Director of communications for Philabundance. (There are) 400,000 kids in our service area, which is four counties in New Jersey and five counties in Pennsylvania. (Those) kids lose their school meals in the summer."

The foodbank Philabundance has the year-long Lunchbox Program, offering nutritious meals for food insecure children. However this summer they've tripled their reach, providing 57,000 lunch boxes thanks to sponsors like Giant food stores.

"You know prior to our relationship with Philabundance we would have half days because we didn't have the resources to be able to feed them," Lt. Jarreau Thomas says. "Our children are able to enjoy a full day here at PAL. Philabundance coming in here with these meals helps us do our job as police officers as the Police Athletic League in order to alter their trajectories and really positively impact them."

Head to Philabundance and the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia to learn more about summer activities and to find a "Lunchbox Program" near you.

So what other organizations in our region are making you Philly Proud? Email us at 6abc.com/PROUD and let us know!
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.