NRPA and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) were honored to host the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and former Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, at the local D.C. rec center, Turkey Thicket, on Thursday, July 20 to see summer meals in action.
The Secretary, a big fan of breakfast, helped serve a healthy breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit to the Young Explorers (ages 3-5) of Turkey Thicket’s summer camp. Turkey Thicket is just one example of sites across DC, and the nation, that is offering free breakfast and lunch to children either enrolled in their camps or coming to simply play at their rec centers this summer. These meals are made possible by the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
Nationally, local park and recreation agencies are one of the top providers of out-of-school time programming in the United States. In fact, nine in 10 agencies offer at least one out-of-school time program. Moreover, park and recreation agencies are the second largest provider of out-of-school time meals. Fifty-seven percent of park and recreation agencies provide meals through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal programs, including SFSP and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
It is vital for the new Administration and Secretary Perdue to understand the critical role that out-of-school time meals and programming play in the lives of millions of children and families across the country this summer and after the school day ends this upcoming school year. Park and recreation agencies are at the forefront of this work, keeping kids safe, active and learning, while also serving up healthy, nutritious meals.
Secretary Perdue is excited to visit more meal programs throughout the country! If you have a summer or afterschool meal program, you can step up as a Park Champion by inviting your members of Congress and Secretary Perdue for a visit. It’s easy to get started with the Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit, our step-by-step guide to hosting a site visit at your agency. For help inviting your members of Congress and Secretary Perdue to see your summer or afterschool meal program, reach out to Jayni Rasmussen, Advocacy and Outreach Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.