The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department has received a $10,000 grant to help increase access to healthy foods when school is not in session and to improve opportunities for physical activity. The gift is part of a $2.3 million grant the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) received from the Walmart Foundation to support programs for students when they are not in school.
The grant will help fund the department's "Crunch and Lunch" program. On weekdays from May 27 through August 7, young people can go to one of three parks for an hour of games and fitness activities. That is followed by a healthy lunch, courtesy of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. The Crunch and Lunch locations are Peter Pan Park, 32nd and "W"; University Place Park, 49th and Garland; and UPCO Park, 40th and Adams.
The grant has four main goals:
The grant supports NRPA's campaign, "Commit to Health," which encourages the implementation and evaluation of healthy eating and physical activity standards in park and recreation sites. NRPA's goal is to have at least 2,000 participating sites in five years. In its first year, 486 sites pledged to "Commit to Health" and 51,382 children have improved access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity.
According to Share our Strength's "No Kid Hungry" campaign, one in five children in America struggles with hunger. Over 21 million low-income children receive free or reduced meals during the school year, but only three million of those children are getting these meals during the summer.
The NRPA is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. For more information, visit NRPA.org.
More information on Parks and Recreation is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov.