Jersey City, Newark receive $50,000 grants to help feed children after school

By Matthew Speiser | The Jersey Journal
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on October 02, 2014

 

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Jersey City and Newark are two of 10 cities nationwide to received $50,000 grants for after school meals programs.

 

Both Jersey City and Newark are among the 10 cities nationwide chosen to receive a $50,000 grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) to create programs to provide children with after school and summer meals.

"Access to healthy foods is important for our youth as they develop both physically and academically. We will continue to seek federal funds that help us expand this type of programming," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

In addition to the grant, Jersey City will receive technical assistance, access to best practices and national experts, and opportunities for peer learning from the NLC as it builds its own meal program.

The eight other cities that received the grant are: Chattanooga, Tenn.; El Centro, Calif.; Fontana, Calif.; Longmont, Colo.; New Haven, Conn.; Pasadena, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; Portland, Maine.

Fulop said Jersey City's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been working to more comprehensively address the issue of food insecurity among city youth.

In April, Jersey City announced the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at seven schools. This is a need-based U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides meals to school age children enrolled in after school programs for free or at a reduced cost.

"The cities chosen should be commended for their commitment and willingness to do the hard work to reduce child hunger in their communities," said Clarence Anthony, executive director at the NLC. "We know that when children don't have access to quality meals it affects their ability to learn and their classroom participation. It is imperative that more cities take advantage of federal resources to implement programs that give children access to meals."

The grants are part of the NLC's Institute for Youth, Education & Families initiative: Cities Combating Hunger Through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS). This initiative has  provided 7.5 million meals over the last two and a half years, according to the NLC.

The grants are made possible by a donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation and a partnership with the Food Research and Action Center.

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