July 5, 2011 |

Summer food program for children in need

Children from low-income households can visit 11 new sites throughout the city and county to be fed free breakfasts, lunches and snacks this summer, with assistance from South Side-based anti-hunger nonprofit Just Harvest.

For the past several years, Just Harvest has been working to help establish new sites that administer the federal Summer Food Service Program in underserved areas throughout the city and county. Since many children depend upon school meals to meet regular nutrition needs, hundreds in our region would go hungry during the summer months if not for Summer Food sites.

This year's success in helping to establish the new sites is due in part to collaboration with the newly formed Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership. The partnership brings together area human service agencies and nonprofits that work to increase access to food for low-income residents.

Due to the recent economic downturn, many Summer Food sites had not opened for the past few years because of a lack of funding for staff. This year, Just Harvest is coordinating welfare-to-work (paid work experience) participants, workers from the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh's Mature Workers program, and FOCUS (Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding, and Shelter) Pittsburgh to help staff some of the Summer Food sites.

Just Harvest is again offering a Summer Food Hotline (1-888-FOOD-210) to answer all questions regarding site locations and hours of operation. In addition, a Summer Food site map of Allegheny County listing site hours and addresses is accessible at www.justharvest.org.

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