Philadelphia provides an option to students missing school lunch over the winter break

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When you think of the Parks and Recreation Department, you may not immediately think of meal service, but in fact, it is one of the largest meal providers in the city, according to Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. "We provide over 1.6 million meals annually to young people," she said.

Most of them are served at summer camps and afterschool programs but a few years ago, they started serving lunch on some school holidays. This year, winter break for Philadelphia public school students will be almost two weeks, so it's expanding that at city recreational centers.

"Anywhere there's an afterschool program, so it's about 100 sites around the city, we'll have meals available for kids on December 23, December 27 and December 30th," Lovell explained.

The meals are free, provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Quantities are limited, however, so kids who are counting on them should get there early.

"It's a little bit outside our scope but a critical resource that we're really happy to provide," she said, "and we'll be doing other fun things too."

Recreational center hours during the winter break will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.