WASHINGTON, March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National League of Cities (NLC) today announced that 20 cities were awarded grants to create or expand programs providing children with afterschool and summer meals. Through a partnership with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), NLC has supported more than 60 cities over the past five years. Those cities have served more than 10 million meals to 100,000 children through the federal afterschool and summer meal programs. The grant program is part of NLC's Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative, which receives support from the Walmart Foundation.
"City leaders are well-positioned to support the nutrition of children in their communities," said National League of Cities (NLC) CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "We're excited to see cities from Alabama, California and Kansas make a commitment to ensuring that children have access to healthy meals. Afterschool and summer meal programs do more than provide nutrition — they can help prevent summer learning loss and provide a safe space for children to gather when school ends."
NLC's CHAMPS initiative invited cities in Alabama, California and Kansas — states where meal program participation has a great opportunity to grow — to apply for technical assistance and grants of up to $40,000.
Cities receiving CHAMPS grants in 2017 include:
- Alabama: Anniston, Brewton, Clanton, Florence, Hobson City, Prattville, Russellville, Sylacauga
- California: San Francisco, Oceanside, Palmdale, Rialto, Redlands, Lemon Grove, Oroville
- Kansas: Olathe, Topeka, Emporia, Arkansas City, Ottawa
In Alabama and California, many children are not being reached with afterschool and summer nutrition despite increases in children receiving free or reduced lunch. In Kansas, a state with the lowest summer meal participation rates in the nation, fewer than one in 10 low-income children participate in summer nutrition programs.
"The city of Sylacauga is committed to increasing the capacity of existing summer and afterschool meal sites, and adding new ones so that our children can access healthy meals when school is out," said Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl. "We've established a CHANGED committee — Children's Healthy Alternatives Now Given Every Day — with city leaders and community partners to support this effort to increase participation in afterschool and summer meals. We believe through CHAMPS, we will have a significant effect on our children in the city and surrounding areas, and we look forward to sharing our experience with other cities."
NLC and FRAC are also funding state municipal leagues and state-based anti-hunger organizations in each of the three states to assist with outreach and provide technical assistance to cities over the course of the 16-month project.
In late 2016, NLC awarded grant to 10 cities in Alabama, California and Kansas through this program. Grantees in 2016 include Alabaster, Huntsville, Mobile and Tuskegee in Alabama; Glendale, Riverside and Stockton in California; and Kansas City, Lawrence and Wichita in Kansas.
For more information, about after school and summer meals program, visit www.nlc.org/CHAMPS.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org
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SOURCE National League of Cities