The City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department and McAllen Public Library, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), have received a $25,000 grant to support its out-of-school time healthy food access and nutritional literacy programs. The departments will utilize the grant to purchase equipment, supplies and materials to further the reach of the programs.
The City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department will receive $21,100 while the McAllen Public Library will receive the remaining $3,900. This grant will help to increase children’s access to healthy foods and improve opportunities for physical activity. Both departments will also receive additional support to be able to provide more meals which are provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) afterschool and summer feeding programs; as well as nutritional literacy materials to help ensure life-long healthy habits for McAllen’s youth.
“Thanks to this very important grant, it’s wonderful that our City of McAllen departments will now be able to reach even more children with healthy food and nutrition programs,” said Mayor Jim Darling. “We are proud to serve our communities and help to improve the quality of life in our great city.”
The gift is part of a $1.5 million grant NRPA received from the Walmart Foundation to support out-of-school time programs in 40 park and recreation agencies across the country. The purpose of the grant is to:
1. Increase the number of healthy meals children in low-income communities receive
through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food
Program (CACFP) during out-of-school times;
2. Provide nutrition literacy to children and families that creates behavior change by
teaching the importance of healthy eating;
3. Implement nutrition standards that increase access to healthier foods and support a
healthy eating environment; and
4. Implement meal and program efficiencies that increase community sustainability.
“Thanks to a successful three years with Commit to Health and the Walmart Foundation, over 228,000 children now have improved access to healthy foods and physical activity,” said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness. “Parks and recreation are proving their critical role in the health of their communities and we can’t wait to see the impact this year’s grants will have on fostering life-long healthy habits in children across the country.”
This grant supports NRPA’s campaign — Commit to Health — which encourages the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in park and recreation sites nationwide. NRPA’s goal is to have at least 2,000 participating sites in five years. Within the first three years of the program, 1,271 sites have pledged to Commit to Health and over 228,000 children now have improved access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity. This video highlights Commit to Health’s three-year success.
According to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, 48.8 million Americans, including over 13 million kids, struggle with hunger. During the school year, over 21 million low-income children receive free or reduced meals to help them meet their daily nutrition needs, but only 3 million of these children receive these meals during the summer. During summer months, these children may not have access to quality and healthy food to help them grow—making the City of McAllen’s work during out-of-school times that much more critical.
To learn more about Commit to Health, visit www.nrpa.org/committohealth.