Cities to Receive Assistance to Expand Year-Round Meal Programs for Children

Press Release
Press Release

NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has selected a new cohort of cities to receive between $30,000 and $50,000 over the next fifteen months to assist the cities to better utilize available federal funding and resources to expand participation in federally subsidized afterschool and summer meal programs. These afterschool and summer meal programs serve as an invaluable role in increasing food access by providing an opportunity for children across the country who may not know where their next meal will come from to eat healthy meals and participate in academic enrichment activities.

Through its Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative, NLC will provide pass through funding, capacity-building support, technical assistance, best practice recommendations and intensive training to cities to develop strategic approaches to expanding access to afterschool meals in their communities. CHAMPS is supported by The Walmart Foundation and implemented in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC),

Thirteen cities were selected last week to be part of the project and an additional six cities will be chosen next month.  The selected cities include:

  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Denver, Colo.
  • El Centro, Calif.
  • Fontana, Calif.
  • Gary, Ind.
  • Jersey City, N.J.
  • Longmont, Colo.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • New Haven, Conn.
  • Pasadena, Calif.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, R.I.

NLC and FRAC are embarking on a new strategy for the CHAMPS initiative, now in its third year, which will utilize the experience and expertise of past grantees to mentor new cities in their state or region. These “faculty cities” include Denver, Colo., Gary, Ind. and Providence, R.I.

NLC will help these three cities to choose two cities each to mentor; these additional six cities will be announced at the end of October. Faculty cities will share resources, ideas and offer support in implementing and promoting the meal programs with their regional cities. They will each hold a regional convening to share best practices promoting child nutrition programs with representatives from other cities implementing meal programs in the state to state agency representatives and other key stakeholders.

“I am thrilled that the City and County of Denver along with two additional cities will each receive a grant to reduce childhood hunger in the Denver area,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.  He continued, “Since 2012, the City and County of Denver has served our kids over 250,000 meals. I appreciate the support of the National League of Cities and the opportunity these grants provide to shine a spotlight on an important issue in the Denver area and across the country. Together, we can address childhood hunger and prepare our kids to compete and succeed in the 21st century.”

Since the project launched in 2012, NLC and FRAC have supported 26 cities across the country to expand participation in afterschool and summer meal programs and have fostered increased city leadership support of these programs.  During the 2013-2014 school year, 15 cities participated in CHAMPS and through the leadership of local city officials, and strong partnerships with meal program sponsors and other key stakeholders in the community, they reached over 39,000 kids and served 4.9 million meals to children in need.

For more information about the CHAMPS project or the federal afterschool and summer meals programs, please contact Jamie Nash at or 202-626-3160.

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