EAST ORANGE, NJ - The City of East Orange’s Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has received a $25,000 grant to support its out-of-school time healthy food access and nutritional literacy programs. 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.
This grant will also help increase access to healthy foods and improve opportunities for physical activity. The Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs will also receive additional support for meals provided through USDA afterschool and summer feeding programs as well as nutritional literacy materials to help ensure life-long healthy habits for East Orange’s youth.
The City of East Orange recently expanded its Summer Food Service Program to include an At-Risk After School Meal Program to help reach the nearly 10,000 young people who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. The Summer Food Program, which was the only North Jersey Program to be recognized with the USDA Champion Award in 2016, served 100,000 meals at 44 local partner sites throughout the city, including parks, schools and summer camps. East Orange was the first municipality in New Jersey to formally streamline its summer food program into an afterschool program.
”Thanks to the hard work of Director Osner Charles and Food Program Coordinator Ravi Boze-Adams, we have been able to access much needed funds to ensure that no child has to go from lunch to breakfast without a meal in between,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “We know that good nutrition fuels both the body and the brain. This grant will allow us to expand our already existing services and reach more children in need.”
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 recreation department’s work during out-of-school times that much more critical.
“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.”
To learn more about Commit to Health, visit www.nrpa.org/committohealth.
About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.