(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser kicked off the first day of summer camps, free summer meals, and weekday operating hours for outdoor pools as part of #BacktoBasicsDC Week. The kickoff took place at Banneker Recreation Center, where children ages 4-6 in the Little Engineers Camp enjoyed their first day of camp and first access to summer meals.
“This week, we’re celebrating Back to Basics DC, which is all about highlighting the day-to-day city services that keep Washington, DC moving forward for its residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Mayor Bowser. “In the summer, there is nothing more basic to our kids and parents than accessible camps and free meals. We are proud to be providing inexpensive, safe, and fun opportunities in all eight wards to keep our youth engaged throughout the summer months.”
When school is out, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education runs the DC Free Summer Meals program to ensure children will don’t miss the wholesome meals. DC continues to rank #1 across the country in summer meals participation – serving more than 4 million meals since 2014 – according to the US Department of Agriculture. Starting Monday, June 17 through August 23, kids can receive free nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day at various locations.
“This year, we are proud to say we’ll be serving meals at more than 250 sites across all eight wards – making it easy for our children and families to access nutritious, high quality meals at no charge to them,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn. “No questions asked. No matter where you go, all meals are free for any child and no ID, forms, or personal information is required.”
Since 2012, more than 6.6 million summer meals have been served through the DC Summer Meals Program to youth in the District. Sponsoring organizations included:
- Public and private local education agencies;
- Entities of state, local, and municipal government;
- Public and private non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status; and
- Non-profit residential and non-residential camps
DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is the largest summer meals distributor and operates summer camps at 62 locations, utilizing 112 variations of camp programming. DPR fills over 3,000 slots per each two-week session and camps have been expanded to include public school locations operated and staffed by DPR. DPR also runs a destination summer camp for resident children in Maryland, Camp Riverview, which includes a week-long session, free to residents of Ward 7 and 8.
“We are thrilled to kick off the start of DPR’s Standout Summer programming with Mayor Bower,” said DPR Director Delano Hunter. “With 62 camp sites and 166 free summer meal sites we are excited to help make this a great summer for thousands of youth all across the District.”
In addition to expanding DPR Summer Camps by over 1000 slots, Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget invested $15 million to increase access to out-of-school time opportunities for 27,000 youth. This summer, 56 organizations have been awarded funding to support more than 5,000 youth in the District with access to free or low-cost opportunities to learn, grow and play beyond the normal school day. Learn24.dc.gov helps families identify out-of-school time opportunities for youth all year long.
Today also marks the first day that District-operated outdoor pools opened fully to include weekday hours. All outdoor pools will operate from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekends, but on weekdays will operate on individual summer schedules. All Spray Parks operate daily from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Mayor Bowser and DPR have expanded weekday pool hours, with 10 DPR pool locations opening one hour earlier.
For more information on standout summer offerings or summer meals visit summer.dc.gov or texting FOOD to 877-877.