City expands free summer meal program for kids and teens
The City of Pittsburgh is expanding its free summer breakfast, lunch, and snack program for kids and teens to more than 125 locations across the city. GrubUp will continue year-round, adding out-of-school time meals to all 10 Citiparks sites this fall.
The ambitious new program, called GrubUp, aims to serve healthy meals to at least 7,640 young people daily through August 14, a 10 percent increase over last year’s average daily attendance of 6,946. GrubUp will offer meals at 20 additional sites -- a 30 percent increase from 2014 -- and also feature the GrupUp Food Truck that will visit 28 different parks, pools and playgrounds from June 23 to August 7, Tuesdays through Fridays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, more than 45,000 children in Allegheny County are considered to be food insecure; 73,500 children are eligible for free or reduced-rate school lunches or breakfasts.
In addition to its expanded operational footprint and enrollment outreach, GrubUp seeks to advocate and promote healthy relationships with food through innovative programming and activities.
“Many students solely rely on free or discounted meals during the school year as their only source of nutrition and we have an obligation to meet their needs over the summer,” says Director, Department of Parks and Recreation, Jim Griffin. Adding, “We’re confident that this year’s expanded program will help more of our most vulnerable, youngest citizens.”
GrubUp is part of Live Well Pittsburgh and is made possible through grants provided by the National League of Cities (NLC) and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) funded by the Walmart Foundation. The NLC granted the City of Pittsburgh $50,000 for an awareness building campaign, GrubUp, to increase participation at meals programs across the city. NRPA awarded $30,000 in funds for nutritional education and $10,000 in educational in kind materials.
The new GrubUp program is administered by the Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation (Citiparks). Annual funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Pennsylvania Department of Education and with the on-going participation of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest.
In addition to Just Harvest, the city is working closely with multiple nonprofits in the food security space and seeks to expand its partners to ensure no child goes hungry and introduce engaging food-oriented youth programming.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will host multiple Kids Cook classes at Citiparks centers. Kids Cook is a program that brings kids into the kitchen. In a series of three lessons, kids learn what a healthy plate looks like, why good nutrition is important and how to make three healthy and tasty snacks or meals.
Grow Pittsburgh will lead a curriculum training on its Edible Schoolyard program to Citiparks site directors. In addition to the training, the program provides free online access to gardening lesson and site plans, as well as healthy recipes that are pleasing to children and youth.
The city will also work with partners to host a youth day at Citiparks Farmers Markets.
GrubUp serves all children up to 18 years old as well as individuals with mental disabilities up to 21 years of age. Full program details, including a comprehensive list of locations and activities, are available at http://www.grubuppgh.org or by calling 412-244-3911. It can be followed on Twitter at #getyourgrubon
South Pittsburgh locations for GrubUp include:
Arlington Heights – BJWL, 3132 Cordell Place (rear of building), Friday through August 14; Breakfast: 9-10 a.m. and Lunch: 12-1: p.m.
Arlington Rec Center, 2201 Salisbury Street, Monday - Friday through August 14; Breakfast: 9:30-10:30 a.m. and Lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Elderado Center, 900 Delmont Avenue, Monday - Friday through August 14; Breakfast: 8-9 a.m. and Lunch: 11-1 p.m.
Lighthouse Church, 810 Fisher Street, Monday - Friday through August 7; Breakfast: 9-10 a.m. and Lunch: 12-1 p.m.
Ormsby Rec Center, 79 South 22nd Street, Monday - Friday through August 14; Lunch: 11-1 a.m. and Snack: 2-3 p.m.
Phillips Rec Center, 201 Parkfield Street, Monday - Friday through August 14; Lunch: 12 - 2 a.m. and Snack: 3-4 p.m.
Ream Pool, 321 Merrimac Street, Monday - Friday through August 14; Lunch: 11 - 1a.m. and Snack: 2-3 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 601 Brownsville Rd, Monday - Friday through August 14; Lunch: 11:30-1:30 p.m.
The Summer Food Truck will serve a cold lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in South Pittsburgh on the following dates:
Wednesday, June 24, Olympia Park on Virginia Avenue in Mount Washington;
Tuesday, July 14, McKinley Park on Bausman Street in Beltzhoover;
Thursday, July 16, Armstrong Park on 12th Street in South Side;
Wednesday, July 22, Grandview Park Overlook at Grandview Avenue at Labelle in Mount Washington; and,
Thursday, July 30, Olympia Park on Virginia Avenue in Mount Washington.