PHILADELPHIA — During the School District of Philadelphia’s upcoming winter recess (December 23 – January 1), students can visit select City recreation centers and playgrounds to receive free, nutritious meals.  

Many Philadelphia students rely on their schools for free meals during the school year. School break meal programs—including Winter Meals and Summer Meals—ensure that children and teenagers can access affordable and nutritious food when school meals are unavailable. These meal programs are federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in partnership with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Meals will be available at select City recreation centers and playgrounds on December 23, 27, and 30 on a first-come, first-served basis between mid-afternoon and early evening. Supplies are limited at each site. Families can call their nearest participating Parks & Recreation site to confirm hours of service. Meals are available to any child or teen up to 18 years old. A list of participating sites and additional information about winter food resources for students and families is available online at

“I’m pleased that our recreation centers will serve a vital role during winter recess and provide nutritious meals to Philadelphia students who need them,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “Winter recess is a time for students to have fun and enjoy time with their family and community. No child should go hungry because schools are closed.”

“Thousands of students rely on free school meals for nutrition during the school year, and we are grateful to Parks & Recreation for helping us meet that need during winter recess,” said School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite. “I hope families will visit their local recreation center or a nearby food pantry if any assistance would be helpful, and I look forward to celebrating a great new year with all of our students when schools reopen January 2.”