Students go home hungry after Southwest Philadelphia school fails to provide breakfast, lunch

A letter sent home to parents blames district staff for failing to report to work and organize food distribution.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When students from S. Weir Mitchell Elementary went home on Thursday afternoon, a letter came with them.

It alerted parents that their children weren't fed breakfast and lunch that day.

"When we were leaving school, they were complaining they were hungry, they didn't eat all day," said parent Sherrae Jackson. "And I was very upset because I should have gotten a phone call."

The letter blames district staff for failing to report to work and organize food distribution.

The letter also says the school ordered pizza for 400 students in an attempt to serve lunch, but some pizzas never arrived by 2:15 pm so "students were not served."

"My son goes here and somebody's gotta stand up for something because this is not right at all," said parent Octavia Clark. "They still didn't notify none of us, it's ridiculous. This is really sad."

The School District of Philadelphia insists they did have breakfast and lunch food on site but the staff distribution worker called out sick that day.

"When that happens, the school leader can either call food services here at (school district headquarters) to have someone deployed to assist with distribution of meals, or he or she can assign someone to step in and do that work," said school district spokesperson Monica Lewis. "That didn't happen and the principal took it upon herself to have food delivered."

6abc asked why parents weren't notified.

"In hindsight, things definitely could have been done differently but there was food on-hand for our families and we will have communication going out to explain to families what happened yesterday," said Lewis.

When the news spread in the community, two women delivered soda and 10 pizzas Friday morning, hoping the kids would get fed if there wasn't enough food.

"I just wanted to help and there's just something about kids, like people just have to be an advocate for kids," said Alana Morgan of Southwest Philadelphia. "It's not too many people who are advocating for children."
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