Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Walmart Foundation Grant Helps Hialeah Feeding Programs

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Walmart Foundation Grant Helps Hialeah Feeding Programs

Article excerpt

Hialeah, Florida, Nayor Carlos Hernandez held a press conference on July 14 to recognize the Walmart Foundation and NRPA for a grant that helps with feeding lunches and snacks to at least 500-800 children per day. Surrounded by dozens of summer campers at the Walker Park Community Center, Hernandez said that the city was grateful for the program.

The Hialeah Department of Parks and Recreation received a $30,000 grant to support a two-year summer and before/after-school feeding program as part of the Walmart Foundation's $2.1 billion Fighting Hunger Together campaign. NRPA provided grants to 30 communities around the country. The program helps fill the gap left in summertime when school lunch programs end and it also helps to entice more low-income children to be active in park and recreation summer programs.

"NRPA is proud to be partnering with the Walmart Foundation and working with 30 communities such as Hialeah to make sure that kids have access to these healthy meals," said James O'Connor, NPRA senior manager of corporate grants. "By making sure that they have healthy meals, physical activity, and a healthy environment for them to excel in over the summer, parks and recreation, Walmart Foundation, NPRA, and Hialeah can come together to make sure these kids have the resources they need."

Because the cost of the meals themselves is reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, much like for school lunches, these grants focus on the equipment and staff needed by park and recreation agencies to store and serve the meals. Hialeah used their grant to purchase refrigerators, freezers, coolers, food storage cabinets, and dining tables. Some of this equipment has also proven useful for Hialeah's senior meal programs and for storing food donations from park concessionaires. In addition, the department created banners for all 15 feeding sites advertising the meals program, in order to increase community awareness of the availability of the free, nutritious meals for children.

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"Look what it does for our kids here and for all of the other parks that have this program," Hernandez said. "You can see what this program does for us and the families in this community. …

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