The Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, 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 grant is part of a $2.3 million grant NRPA received from the Walmart Foundation to support out-of-school time programs in 75 park and recreation agencies. The purpose of the grant is to:
- 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;
- Provide evidence-based, age-appropriate nutrition literacy to children that create behavior change by teaching the importance of healthy eating;
- Implement nutrition and physical activity standards that increase access to healthier foods and increase opportunities for physical activity; and
- Promote meal and program efficiencies that will reduce costs, maximize existing resources, decrease food waste, and lead to more sustainable meal programs.
Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks’ grant will help increase access to healthy foods and improve opportunities for physical activity. Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks 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 Anne Arundel County’s youth.
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 across the country. NRPA’s goal is to have at least 2,000 participating sites in five years. Within the first year of the program, 486 sites have pledged to Commit to Health and 51,382 children now have improved access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity.
According to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, one in five children in America struggles with hunger. Over 21 million low-income children receive free or reduced meals during the school year to help them meet their daily nutrition needs, but only 3 million of these children are getting these meals during the summer. During summer months, these children may not have access to quality and healthy food to help them grow—making Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks’ work during out-of-school times that much more critical.
“Thanks to a successful first year with Commit to Health and the Walmart Foundation, 51,382 children now have improved access to healthy foods and physical activity,” said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NPRA. “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.”
“Anne Arundel County is blessed to have an outstanding network of regional and community parks and recreational facilities that provide great meal opportunities for our children,” said Schuh. “That is why my budget works to strengthen our system by initiating a South County regional park, a Millersville tennis center, and a West County regional park.”
“Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks is excited to be part of this year’s grant funding,” according to Department Director, Rick Anthony. “Our Department is dedicated to encouraging healthy lifestyles in our participants, young and old. And we look forward to sharing nutrition and physical activity education in our summer programs as well as our before and after school school-year programs.”