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National League of Cities "CHAMPions" the Summer Food Service Program

Last Published: 06/17/2013
Tony Craddock, Jr.

New York City mobile vending program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is one of the most underutilized federal programs despite the fact that it was created to feed hungry children during summer. Of the children who are eligible for SFSP (by way of receiving free or reduced-price school meals), only about 10% of those children participate in SFSP. Such perplexing statistics have signaled a call for innovative ideas for facilitating increased access to SFSP. The National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) have answered this call by launching the second phase of Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool Meal Program (CHAMP). This work was also made possible by a $1.5 million grants from the Walmart Foundation.

The first phase of CHAMP featured 11 out-of-school time program providers who partnered with city governments to maximize the utilization of federal funding for afterschool and summer feeding. In Omaha, Nebraska, this effort amounted to a whopping 137,000 meals served in six months.

The second phase of CHAMP begins with two regional leadership academies in late May and early June, which are each open to 10 city teams (20 city teams in total). The city teams will feature one city official and two key stakeholders who will be provided with strategies to link the afterschool and summer feeding programs to create year-round out-of-school meals in their respective cities. At the leadership academies, national experts with experience in afterschool and summer feeding programs will share their wisdom and best practices with the city teams. And just in case you're thinking about finances, travel costs for city teams will be covered by project funds. The request for proposals to participate in one of the leadership academies is available here. Applications are due no later than March 25, 2013.

Following the leadership academies, up to 15 of the 20 cities that attended will have a chance to receive between $30,000 to $60,000 for tECHnical assistance and training to develop and improve their afterschool and summer meal programs for 12 months. Opportunities such as this show that cities are serious about ending childhood hunger, and most importantly, interested in doing it in a collaborative way where ideas are shared openly. If you are interested in being one of the cities to benefit from this idea, click here for more information. Again, applications are due no later than March 25, 2013. Help make your city a trailblazer in ending childhood hunger.