Park and recreation agencies serve 560,000,000 meals to children through summer and afterschool programs each year.
However, during the summer months alone, nearly 16 million children from low-income families are still without the critical safety net of nutritious meals. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reports that more than 18 million children receive free and reduced-price school lunches during the school year. However, when schools let out for the summer, the number of children receiving support through food service programs drops significantly, to fewer than 3 million. Unfortunately, this issue is not confined to just summers, but exists during before and afterschool periods as well.
The National Recreation and Park Association is working with national partners to address this staggering statistic and eliminate child hunger during all out-of-school times. As the largest public provider of children's meals during the summer months, park and recreation agencies are capable of quickly and effectively reaching children in need with nutritious meals. In fact, park and recreation agencies are on the front line in addressing many community health needs, including children's nutrition.
How to Get Involved
1) Download the Serving Communities Case Study. This publication provides best practices and ideas for park and recreation feeding programs.
2) USDA Food and Nutrition Services offers comprehensive information on the administration and management of federal food service programs, including the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/.
3) Whether running one feeding site at a community center or sponsoring a food service program serving more than one-thousand sites, or considering adding a feeding program for the first time, NRPA can help your agency reach more at-risk children. To learn more, contact Jimmy O'Connor.