photo - Cities Combating Hunger
photo - Cities Combating Hunger

CHAMPS: Cities Combating Hunger

Since 2012 NLC has partnered with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) on the CHAMPS initiative to help cities reduce child hunger by expanding participation in the Summer and Afterschool Meals Programs. In its first six years, this work has helped 71 cities feed over 140,000 children more than 12 million meals.

In 2018 NLC expanded the focus of this successful initiative to help cities consider more far-reaching ways to reduce hunger in their communities. We competitively selected six cities - Allentown, Pennsylvania; Durham, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; Little Rock, Arkansas; Miami Gardens, Florida; Winston-Salem, North Carolina - to receive grants and technical assistance to tackle food insecurity by creating citywide, mayor-led anti-hunger campaigns. These campaigns will encourage the entire community to work together to address hunger. Check backfor more information on the cities' campaigns, lessons learned, and our overall progress toward increasing the number of children and families that access federal nutrition programs.

City Leaders Can Take Action

City leaders are in a unique position to provide support and expertise to help develop and expand afterschool and summer meal programs in their communities. There are several ways that mayors and city agencies can work to increase access to and participation at meal sites.

Read NLC’s Issue Brief to learn key steps city leaders can take to support meal programs, including:

  • Using their visibility to promote programs
  • Sponsoring a meal program
  • Incorporating child nutrition into a broader city-wide initiative
  • Establishing a local out-of-school time meals workgroup or taskforce

Partnering with schools and nonprofits to increase meal program participation is an effective way to for city leaders to leverage their position and reach as many kids as possible in their communities.

Champions of CHAMPS Communications Toolkit

In addition to launching new meal sites, CHAMPS cities have created streamlined and comprehensive marketing campaigns to raise awareness within their communities of meal programs generally, and of site locations specifically. Outreach and awareness campaigns have increased the visibility of the meal programs, boosted participation at sites, and improved the overall nutrition and health of children across the community.

Yet, we know this is just the beginning. Too many children are still missing out on these important programs.

The National League of Cites (NLC) and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) have created a toolkit to help city leaders and agencies share successes to further grow participation in the federally funded afterschool and summer meal programs and to inspire others to do the same. The Toolkit focuses specifically on Afterschool Meal programs, and includes:

  • Press release to promote cities' work around CHAMPS
  • Talking points for city leaders to speak about CHAMPS
  • Infographics for current grantee states and CHAMPS alumni
  • Social media samples 
  • Sample mayoral proclamation

Afterschool and Summer Meals Toolkit

10 Ways Cities Can Tackle Childhood Hunger

infographic - CHAMPS initiative