Synagogue reminds neighborhood: Free meals, activity kits still available for kids despite pandemic

Breaking Bread on Broad
Photo credit Julian Ovalle
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Congregation Rodeph Shalom along North Broad Street is hosting its fourth free summer meal program for area kids — but they’ve had less participation than ever before, despite the growing need.

The Breaking Bread on Broad program started up again last week. In partnership with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, they supply free food to neighborhood kids.

Hunger doesn’t take a break over the summer, so Rabbi Eli Freedman hopes children still take advantage of the program amid the coronavirus crisis.

“They can come by between 9 and 11 a.m. every Tuesday and pick up up to 10 meals — five breakfasts and five lunches. The breakfasts are shelf-stable and the lunches are actually frozen,” he said.

Any child under the age of 18 is eligible.

“There's no financial tests, we don't require any documentation — we'll take your word for it,” Freedman said. “It's all on the honor system. Parents can come pick up for their kids.”

In previous years, the program also offered a volunteer summer camp, but because the program must be contactless due to the virus, they're sending kids home with free weekly activity kits.

“We have books, paper and crayons and whiteboard markers, and matching games,” he said.

“We work really hard to make sure that this is done with the utmost level of respect and dignity, because that's really an overriding Jewish value for us as well as the value of educating children and feeding them,” he added.

Freedman anticipates getting back to in-person programming next summer. Until then, if anyone wants to volunteer to either distribute flyers around the neighborhood or help set up the food and activities on Tuesday mornings, you can email the program coordinator, Julian Ovalle, at bbob@rodephshalom.org.

The program ends on Aug. 25. From there, schools will pick up where the program leaves off, providing meals in schools or at pickup locations, as they’ve done in the past.

For more, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.