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At-Risk Youth Gain Access to Nutritious Afterschool Meals

December 2, 2013

Metro Parks was recently selected as one of only 15 program providers across the country to receive a grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) and Food Research and Action Center.

This grant is part of their CHAMPS initiative, “Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs,” a national effort to reduce childhood hunger in America. Additionally, Metro Parks was also recently selected as one of the first to receive state funding to provide afterschool meals for at-risk children up to age 18 through the federally funded Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Through the support of these funding partners, Metro Parks’ CHAMPS program will launch on December 9 to distribute nutritious meals at:

  • Peoples Center (1602 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Way)
  • Portland Avenue Community Center (3513 E Portland Avenue)
Meals will be served from 3:30-4:30 pm, followed by enrichment activities from 4:30-5:30 pm (excluding holidays).

The program has been funded for operation through August 29, 2014. The locations were selected based on low-income criteria defined by the USDA. No pre-registration is required. Participation is on a drop-in basis, with free meals and activities available for any child up to the age of 18.

“Our goal is simple,” said program coordinator Adrienne Chaney. “We want to ensure the health and well-being of Tacoma’s youth by helping provide them with the necessary meals to reduce hunger and improve access to nutritious food provided in a safe, supervised space where they can enjoy positive childhood experiences.”

Meal reimbursement will be provided by the USDA through the Office of Public Instruction, while the staffing and program development funding for the program will be provided through the National League of Cities CHAMPS (Cities Combating Child Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meals Programs) grant.

Programs like these at-risk afterschool centers provide a much needed service. They give children a safe place to go after school where they receive nutritious food that gives them the energy they need to concentrate on homework and join their friends in physical, educational, and social activities.

Metro Parks Tacoma has been a long-time partner with the USDA, providing free lunches for children in parks throughout the summer. The expanded program will continue to provide meals during the summer months, in addition to the new after school service, when free and reduced meals are not available and many children struggle to find food.

Program meals will be provided by Subway. The company was selected through a process which evaluated service providers based on the nutritional value of the meal provided, ease of access and delivery of food, and overall cost.

Subway has been the contracted provider for Metro Parks’ free Summer Lunch program for the past two seasons and will now expand its service to include the afterschool meal program.

In addition to nourishment, the program will provide a safe, supervised environment where children will have an opportunity to receive homework assistance, participate in group games, or enjoy arts and crafts activities.

Additional program information, provided per request of USDA & OSPI:

Metro Parks Tacoma announced its sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Meals will be made available to enrolled children at no separate charge without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at filing cust.html or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.qov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The six protected classes in the CACFP are: race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. Meals will be provided at the sites listed below:

Portland Ave Community Center
Street Address: 3513 Portland Ave.
City, WA Zip Code: Tacoma WA 98404
Phone Number : 253.442.4872

Peoples Community Center
Street Address: 1602 S. MLK Jr. Way.
City, WA Zip Code: Tacoma WA 98405
Phone Number : 253.442.4872

OSPI/Child Nutrition Services

FORM SPI CACFP 1269 SAMP (Rev. 11/13)
Attachment 10 to Bulletin No. 049-13 CNS, September 2013