El Centro Combating Hunger

What are the program goals?

The City of El Centro, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is feeding children in kindergarten through 8th grade through the city’s Parks and Recreation Division. In the Summer Feeding Program alone, the Parks and Recreation Division (the El Centro Community Center) fed 5,565 children from June 16, 2014 through August 8, 2014.

Key Partners:

 Key partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California State Department of Education, the El Centro Elementary School District, the Imperial Valley Food Bank. The USDA provides the meals and snacks, the Department of Education provides technical assistance, the school district works closely with the city on issues related to the health and well-being of the children in the community, the Imperial Valley Food Bank provides food for hungry families with children in the community.

Afterschool and Summer Meals Successes 2014:

·        Summer:

  • 3 sites, increased from 2
  • 200 children served on an average day, increased from 105
  • 12,750 total meals served
  • 40 operating days

·        Afterschool:

  • 3 sites, increased from 1
  • 45 children served on an average day, increased from 0
  • 5,500 total meals served
  • 200 operating days

Key Outreach Strategies:

El Centro started with a survey to determine local awareness of the after school and summer meal programs. Flyers were distributed and the CHAMPS event was developed into a strategic marketing plan. The marketing plan includes placing the CHAMPS event on the city’s “Community Newsletter,” and on the city’s website.  The Parks and Recreation Division distributed copies of a separate newsletter – the “Quality of Life Matters” Newsletter which is direct mailed and also circulated in schools. Community workshops were held on child hunger and program success stories were shared through media links. With the existing community advisory groups -- the Community Services Commission, and the Library Trustees, -- the city drafted a roadmap for a long-term goal. Added publicity came from participating in community events such as the Children’s Annual Fair at Bucklin Park and the Imperial Valley Business Showcase. These events also bring updated research (via a survey) on what is needed in the community as well as what businesses may be able to offer to assist in the fight to keep children from going hungry.


Primary Author & NLC Contact
Jamie Nash
Institute for Youth, Education & Families

Updated August 2015

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