PHILADELPHIA – Today Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell began the countdown to the 2019 pool season by announcing Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s first ever kids’ swimwear drive.  The campaign called ‘Suit Up for Summer’ is the City’s effort to make sure all Philadelphia children have access to the City’s 72 free public pools, and the free swim lessons offered each summer at each location. This year City pools will open on a rolling basis from June 17 until June 28. The full schedule of pool openings will be released in early June.

“Our free public pools are a treasured resource for residents across Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “Every child in this city deserves to stay cool and learn to swim in a safe, free, City pool. Each swimwear donation we receive will give one more child the chance to learn lifelong swimming skills, and to cool down and stay active this summer.”

Enterprising Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff members are behind the swimsuit drive, having observed kids turned away from City pools for not having the proper swimming attire. For swimmers’ health and safety, residents are only allowed in the pool, or on the pool deck, if they are wearing proper swimwear.

Starting today, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation will collect new swimwear in all youth and adult sizes; swim diapers and flip flops in all sizes; towels; and goggles. Drop-off sites are listed below, and on the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation website. Items can be dropped off at any of the locations Monday through Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Center City – One Parkway Building, 1515 Arch St., 1st Floor
  • West Philadelphia –  Carousel House, 4300 Avenue Of The Republic
  • Northeast Philadelphia – James Ramp Playground, 3300 Solly Avenue
  • Northwest Philadelphia – Kendrick Rec Center, 5822 Ridge Avenue
  • South Philadelphia – Guerin Rec Center, 2201 S. 16th Street
  • North Philadelphia – Athletic Rec Center, 1400 N. 26th Street

All Philadelphia Parks & Rec outdoor pools offer free swim lessons to young people throughout the pool season. This year, some pools are also offering adult swim lessons. Aqua Zumba and Poolside Yoga are offered at five sites through the Swim Philly program, presented in partnership with the Department of Public Health. Residents can find their nearest pool, and information about available lessons, on the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation finder app.

The Health Department’s Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, said, “Every year, we’re excited to see pools and spraygrounds open throughout Philadelphia. These facilities allow children and families to get their needed physical activity all while staying cool in the summer heat. Suit Up for Summer is a great way to ensure that everyone can get fit and healthy and we’re extremely happy to support this effort.”

“No kid should be turned away from a pool on a hot summer day,” added Commissioner Ott Lovell. “The swimwear drive is a city-wide effort to let all kids know that they matter, they are welcomed, and that their city cares about them.”

St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children is kicking off the swimsuit drive with a $5,000 donation for children’s swimsuits, with a commitment to lead a fundraising effort to purchase children’s swimwear.

“All Philadelphia kids deserve the chance to learn how to swim and stay cool in the City’s public pools,” said Jan Shaeffer, President of the St. Christopher’s Foundation. “Suit Up for Summer is an easy way for each of us to help remove a barrier that could keep kids from staying active, healthy, and safe this summer. We are proud to support Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in its goal of making swimming in City pools accessible to all.”

Monetary donations to the swimsuit drive can be made on the St. Christopher’s Foundation website.

About Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children

The mission of St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children is to support the health and well-being of children through programs in the areas of care, outreach, research and education. Our work comes in many forms. We create and manage programs, including the Community Oral Health Initiatives and Farm to Families. We invest in many of the best organizations providing innovative, successful children’s health interventions. And we bring people and organizations together to create well rounded, responsive strategies to critical children’s health issues. Our strategies are diverse, but they all allow us to realize our ultimate goal: improved health and wellness, and a lifetime of success, for children in need.  St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization registered in the state of Pennsylvania.