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NRPA Awards Summer Meal Funding from Share Our Strength to Expand Food Access Through Local Parks and Recreation

SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association

Grants focus on emergency funding relief to agencies impacted by COVID-19

Ashburn, Va. (Aug 27, 2020) – Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign awards a generous $200,000 grant to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation. NRPA is awarding the funds to 18 local park and recreation agencies to provide emergency funding relief to support sustained operations of meal programs served through park and recreation sites that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the summer of 2020. Agencies selected to receive grant funding include:   


  • Bella Ease, Quincy, Illinois
  • Monte Vista Kids Connection, Monte Vista, Colorado
  • Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, Flint, Michigan
  • City of Las Vegas Department of Parks and Recreation, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Baltimore Civic Fund, Baltimore, Maryland
  • City of Providence Parks & Recreation, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Reading Recreation Commission, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Pueblo of Sandia, Bernalillo, New Mexico
  • Arkansas City Recreation Commission, Arkansas City, Kansas
  • Metro Parks Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington
  • Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, Burlington, Vermont
  • City of Auburn Recreation Department, Auburn, Maine
  • YMCA of Greater Erie, Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Hoxie Recreation, Hoxie, Kansas
  • City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • City of Pauls Valley Parks and Recreation Department, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
  • City of Detroit General Services Department, Detroit, Michigan

“The essential role of parks and recreation in addressing food security has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with agencies across the country rapidly scaling up meal and food distribution programs and collaborating with schools, food banks and other community partners to fill gaps and addressing rising rates of food insecurity,” said Allison Colman, NRPA’s director of health. “NRPA’s grantee efforts support the health and wellbeing of all community members, especially children age 18 and younger. This project will streamline financial assistance to agencies that have been severely impacted by the pandemic and require additional funding to provide summer meals to food-insecure children and households.”

Local park and recreation agencies are one of the largest providers of meals during out-of-school time (OST). Agencies serve millions of meals annually to children through OST programs, including after-school and summer meal programs and operate over 5,000 summer meal sites annually. In times of crisis response and recovery, including the COVID-19 pandemic, local park and recreation agencies are providers of essential services and programs that are necessary to maintain the health and well-being of the public. Coordinated rapid relief support will ensure that park and recreation agencies are able to not only sustain their meal programs throughout the pandemic and continue providing other essential services, but also increase reach to more food-insecure and impacted households.

Grant funds have been directed to these agencies at risk of reduced or disrupted operations of their summer meal programs due to budget cuts and other challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be used to support expenses from operating summer meal programs in 2020, including:

  • Staffing
  • Equipment purchases (tables, tents, refrigeration, fans)
  • Marketing and communication efforts
  • Cleaning and disinfectant supplies 
  • Personal protection equipment (PPE)
  • Transportation
  • Technology

Agencies awarded have demonstrated continued operation of their summer meal programs and have an existing (and increasing) consistency of families who rely on these operations for their food security. Funding will be used to support operations at open sites, meaning meals and snacks are available to all children who are in need of nutritious food. 

About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

About No Kid Hungry

No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 7 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at

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