Find Summer Food Program Locations Where Kids Can Eat for Free

Over 100 locations for Pittsburgh Summer Food Service Programs

By Emily Papa & Jennifer Hill July 5, 2023

For many Pittsburgh kids, the end of the school year is a celebration of unstructured summer days and no homework. But for other kids -- too many kids -- the end of the school year also means the end of a guaranteed food source.

More than 30 million students in the United States rely on their schools for a meal at least once a week, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

So what happens to those kids when school is not in session?

Unfortunately, it means that one in three kids from a low-income family will not have enough food during the summer months, according to a 2015 Summer Nutrition Program Social Impact Analysis by Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States. 

Those children and teens who struggle with hunger face something called the "summer nutrition gap." These kids are also at a higher risk of losing the skills and knowledge they have developed during the school year -- which means they'll return in the fall at an academic disadvantage. 

To combat the effects of food insecurity for kids, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local Pittsburgh resources offer nutritious, free meals to kids ages 18 and under during the summer months. Summer Meals Programs are typically are held at libraries, camps, churches, parks, schools, food trucks, and even school buses throughout the country.

For many low-income families, these free meals can also make it easier to pay their rent and bills, without sacrificing their children's nutrition. That's important because 43 percent of low-income families in America find it harder to make ends meet during the summer months, according to the Share Our Strength analysis.

So do the programs work? The Share Our Strength analysis highlights a study of 1,200 schools in Maryland and found that schools offering a summer nutrition program saw up to 2.5 percent more students achieve math proficiency, up to 2 percent more students achieve reading proficiency, and up to 5.3 percent more students graduate from high school, compared to schools that did not offer a summer nutrition program.

So let's work together to make sure all of our kids are fed this summer! 

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Summer Food Service Program:

USDA works closely with states to ensure that children who receive on free or reduced-price school meals can get the nutrition they need when schools are closed – whether during summer break or unexpected closures during the school year. Through USDA's summer meal programs, approved sites in communities across the country can serve meals to kids up to age 18 at no cost. Families can use this tool to find directions to nearby meal sites, as well as their hours of operation and contact information.

Click here to find the USDA Summer Food Service Program Pittsburgh locations near you where children can take part in the Summer Meals Program. You can also text “Summer Meals” to 914-342-7744 or call 1-866-348-6479 to find a site near you.

Citiparks’ Summer Food Service Program (GrubUp!) 2023:

The Food Program Division of Citiparks is a unique and wonderful opportunity to provide for our City’s youth.  They offer 2 different programs:  After-School Food Program (CACFP--Child and Adult Care Food Program) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP, more affectionately known as GrubUp).  These programs provide after-school food service as well as a summer food program to ensure nutritious eating for all!  Both of these food programs are available to all children up to 18 years old, as well as intellectually disabled individuals up to 21 years old. 

2023 Summer Food Service Program will begin on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. A Kick-off Event for this summer's program will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 (10 AM to 1 PM) in Allegheny Commons Park-West (near National Aviary)


Ammon Rec Center:  2217 Bedford Avenue
Brookline Rec Center:  1400 Oakridge Street  
Jefferson Rec Center:  605 Rednap Street
Magee Rec Center:  745 Greenfield Avenue  
Ormsby Rec Center:  79 S. 22nd Street  
Paulson Rec Center:  1201 Paulson Avenue  
Phillips Rec Center:  201 Parkfield Street  
Warrington Rec Center:  329 E. Warrington Avenue   

Meal Service details and our Summer 2023 Partner Locations and food service times are listed HERE.  This list is subject to change.

Available to children up to 18 years old, and those with intellectual disabilities up to 21 years old.

For additional information please contact Citiparks Food Programs Office at 412.571.3291