Ashburn, Virginia, June 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is supporting 31 local park and recreation agencies as they work to increase access to healthy foods and nutrition education in their out-of-school time programs through NRPA’s Commit to Health initiative.

Across the country, more than 6 million children live in households at risk of struggling with hunger. The Walmart Foundation grants are helping provide meals to those who need them the most, ensuring that children and families can access the nutritious food they need to be healthy.

Since 2010, funding from the Walmart Foundation has supported local park and recreation agencies in serving 85 million meals to 4.5 million kids. Over 300 cities and thousands of meal sites across the country have benefitted from this partnership. Children have also benefited from programs implementing the Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards, ensuring that kids have access to healthier environments.


In 2018, NRPA is pleased to provide grant funding to 31 agencies in two cohorts. A rural cohort of 10 agencies in Colorado, Kansas, and Mississippi will provide insight into the barriers rural communities face in providing meals and services to children, as well as the assets these communities can leverage to improve health outcomes. The 10 agencies funded in the rural cohort include:

  • City of Sterling, Colorado
  • City of Monte Vista Kids Connection, Colorado
  • Montrose Recreation District, Colorado
  • Arkansas City Recreation, Kansas
  • City of Pittsburg, Kansas
  • Chanute Recreation Commission, Kansas
  • Hoxie Recreation (City of Hoxie), Kansas
  • City of Indianola, Parks & Recreation, Mississippi
  • City of Starkville Parks and Recreation Department, Mississippi
  • Tunica County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi

A cohort of 21 agencies in non-rural cities will also receive funding. These agencies include:

  • Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Massachusetts
  • Bristol Parks and Recreation, Connecticut
  • City of Eureka, California
  • City of Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services, Washington
  • City of Longmont: Children, Youth and Families, Colorado
  • City of Lowell Recreation Office, Massachusetts
  • City of Mount Vernon – Recreation, New York
  • City of Passaic Recreation Department, New Jersey
  • City of Phoenix, Arizona
  • City of Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Department, North Carolina
  • City of Westminster, Colorado
  • DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs, Georgia
  • Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation, North Carolina
  • King County Parks, Washington
  • Manchester Parks and Recreation Department, Tennessee
  • Manhattan Parks and Recreation, Kansas
  • Meriden Parks and Recreation Department, Connecticut
  • Middletown Recreation & Parks Department, New York
  • Salt Lake City Corporation, Utah
  • Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation, Virginia
  • Spalding County Parks and Leisure Services, Georgia

The $1.5 million grant provided to NRPA from the Walmart Foundation has three main goals:

  • Increasing the number of healthy meals children receive through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during out-of-school times;
  • Providing evidence-based nutrition literacy to children and families that creates behavior change, including increased consumption of fruits and vegetables; and
  • Implementing healthy living practices and policies aligned with the evidence-based healthy eating and physical activity.

Funding will be used for meal service equipment, transportation, staffing, marketing, healthy living opportunities, family engagement, enrichment activities including nutrition education and community gardening, etc. In addition, these year-long grants provide numerous opportunities for collaboration, networking, training and technical assistance to ensure that grantees can sustain this work in the future.

“NRPA is thankful for our partnership with the Walmart Foundation to support local park and recreation agencies who make health and wellness a priority in the communities they serve — especially during out-of-school time,” said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness. “We look forward to the continued success of this nationwide effort in helping children access healthy food and lead a healthier lifestyle.”

“We are passionate about ensuring children and families have access to food when they need it most,” said Eileen Hyde, director of hunger and healthy eating at the Walmart Foundation. “The focus this program puts on out of school time food programs and the promotion of nutrition education at meal sites is critical for ensuring our children enjoy ready access to healthier, nutritious food.”

Download this video and podcast to learn more about NRPA’s Commit to Health initiative. 

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About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.3 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Our philanthropy helps people live better by supporting upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where Walmart operates and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit http://www.foundation.walmart.com.

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Heather Williams
National Recreation and Park Association
703-858-4743
hwilliams@nrpa.org