Philadelphia to Distribute Free Meals to Students Without Needing to Show ID

Philadelphia students and their caregivers can pick up free meals amid virtual learning to start the school year

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Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley addressed the spread of coronavirus in Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon as they announced that free meals would be available for Philadelphia students this year without the need to show identification.

Kenney said Tuesday that starting Thursday, students and their caregivers can pick up weekly grab-and-go meal boxes at sites throughout the city without needing a student ID number.

"Last week we announced that families would be required to have a student ID number to pick up student meals," Kenney said in his prepared remarks. "Glad to say this is no longer the case. Thanks to advocacy at the local and national level, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the waiver to the National School Lunch program."

On its website, the City lists at least 62 schools and 13 Philadelphia Housing Authority community centers as meal pickup locations starting Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. The meals will be distributed weekly on Thursdays each week.

The meals can be picked up "regardless of what school they attend," Kenney said.

The hope is that the healthy meals help students learn from home.

As of Tuesday, the risk of COVID-19 in Philadelphia remained high, the City said. Nearly 34,000 cases were confirmed in Philadelphia with at least 1,751 deaths since the pandemic began. Temple University students who recently tested positive for COVID-19 may not be included in the most recent data.

Farley said there is "a substantial risk" of the Temple outbreak spreading into the surrounding community. Contact tracing is being used to try and stem that spread of the virus.

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