Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we frequently receive regarding the Nutritional Development Services Summer Meals Program and how you can receive meals, or become a partner. If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a representative directly, please contact us using the information on the right side of this page.

Programs must commit to serving a minimum of 25 children a day for at least one week of the summer. Programs in many Greater Philadelphia neighborhoods qualify. See below for a list of sample programs that we can serve. To find out if your particular program qualifies, call NDS.
To participate, you have to place an initial phone call to NDS: (215) 895-3470. A representative from your program, ideally someone who will handle the meals & paperwork, needs to attend a training meeting each year as well. Each following year you will receive a reminder letter about participating.
The food and delivery are free. All that is required is the completion of daily paperwork and the prompt return of a weekly report.
NDS requires that you keep track of the number of meals delivered to your program, how many children were in attendance, & how many children ate each day.
None. All meals are delivered “ready to eat.” No preparation is required. Breakfast and snack items are served according to the menu and lunch arrives in its own box along with a milk (one per child).
If you serve lunch and snack, you do not need any equipment. Ice can be delivered to keep these meals cold. If you serve breakfast, you will need enough refrigeration to hold the cold items overnight.
No, there are no pork products on the menu. All sandwiches with deli meats are made from non-pork products (turkey, beef).
If a child doesn’t like an item in his lunch, unopened packages can be placed on a “share table” for another child to eat.
No, all meals are the same size and children can only receive one meal. Most children will be satisfied if they eat their whole meal. Most programs set up a “share table” on which children place food that they are not going to eat. Children can choose food from the share table if they are still hungry after eating their meal.
Delivery trucks will bring the meals to your program’s location everyday before lunchtime. Each day you will receive lunch and snack for today, or lunch for today and breakfast for tomorrow.
Monitors from NDS will visit your program during your meal service the first week you receive meals, and may return as needed. In addition, the County Health Department, the USDA, and the PA Department of Education will visit your program. All of these monitors are only looking at your summer meal service and the environment in which the children are eating. They do not have authority over any other aspect of your program.
No, but it does have to be located in an official setting (i.e. church, fire hall, community room, tot lot, etc.). Many summer food service programs are located in non-traditional settings, such as WIC offices, libraries, apartment buildings, townhouse community rooms, Family Service Centers, convents, environmental centers, Welfare to Work Programs, colleges, or theaters. Some programs are started by community leaders – like ladies auxiliary groups or block captains – who see children in need and take action by setting up tot lots or play areas in their neighborhoods that only provide meals.

If you are interested in setting up a site and you are not an employee or volunteer for an organization or church, you may need to submit to NDS copies of your child abuse and criminal history clearances. Please call NDS for details.

Talk to the other programs in your neighborhood. Try to collaborate with them. If you find another program to partner with, one of you can become a site and children from both programs can eat together.
Yes! NDS provides meals to child care centers, schools, and after school programs. Please contact NDS for more information.
Nutritional Development Services is an office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Human Services. NDS has served the community’s food needs for over 45 years, partnering with both Catholic and non-Catholic programs. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, NDS helped over 400 summer sites to provide more than 848,000 meals to children in the community. NDS also sponsors around 100 schools that served over 4.2 million school breakfasts and lunches in the 2015-16 school year. In the same year, sites participating in the NDS Child and Adult Care Food Program served more than 2.8 million meals and the NDS Community Food Program provided over 2.1 million meals. In total, NDS provided over 10 million meals across all programs in the 2015-16 fiscal year alone. NDS also has an active role in anti-hunger activities in the community.