The City’s Human Services and Recreation Department received a $50,000 grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) to streamline afterschool and summer meal programs for Pasadena-area children. The department will also receive customized technical assistance, access to best practices and national experts, and opportunities for peer learning.
Pasadena is among 13 cities receiving grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 because of a continued commitment to combatting childhood hunger through year-round meal programs.
Fourteen percent of Pasadena residents live below the federal poverty level. During the 2013-14 school year, 68 percent of Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) students were approved for free and reduced meal benefits, according to PUSD. The grant funding will help the City, PUSD and community partners achieve the long-term goals of creating a coordinated, citywide system for providing child nutrition programs; reducing the lunch-to-breakfast meal gap; and increasing awareness of the citywide child nutrition program.
“This opportunity aligns with the strategies in our school-city-community work plan to continue offering services that improve student outcomes and foster innovation in Pasadena,” said Mercy Santoro, Director, Human Services and Recreation Department.
“The grant will help improve participation in our nutrition programs while also allowing us to brand various community-based meal programs under one name.”
Starting in December 2014, the Human Services and Recreation Department will begin meeting with community partners, identifying and creating a database of existing resources, assessing community needs and creating a work plan for the grant cycle.
The CHAMPS grant is part of the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education & Families’ initiative: Cities Combating Hunger Through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs. CHAMPS is made possible by a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation and in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center. The grant funding has helped supply 7.5 million meals during the last 2.5 years.