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YMCA Summer Lunch Program Gets Boost from Walmart

Saturday, August 06, 2011

 

During the school year, it’s convenient for kids from less fortunate families to receive free lunch every day. According to the USDA, a whopping 19.5 million low-income children get these free or reduced meals every day at school. But when the summer starts up and that free meal is no longer provided, many kids suffer from a lack of nutrition. Walmart is helping to solve this problem by handing out grants this summer to three local YMCA’s of Greater Providence. These donations, which began right when school was let out in June, provide wholesome meals to families and young people throughout the state.
 
"Millions of children and families are at greater risk for hunger in the summer months because children lose access to daily meals when the school lunch program is over," said Jill Achin, District Executive Director based out of the Newman Y in Seekonk. "The YMCA is committed to stepping in and helping to ensure our children stay healthy and strong."

“We have seen first-hand that many of these children would not have had any lunch if it were not for the Summer Food Service Program that we were able to bring to Pierce Field, East Providence," Achin said.

Local programs include activities and education

Made possible by the national Summer Food Service Program which is run by the US Department of Agriculture, these grants are awarded to the Kent County YMCA, Providence Youth Services, and the Newman YMCA. The Kent County YMCA distributes free meals and snacks to kids and teens at Deering Middle School in West Warwick, along with participating in physical activities and nutrition education. The Newman YMCA coordinates with the East Providence Parks & Rec Program to hand out lunch every weekday from noon to 2pm at Pierce Field as well as hold organized games and sports. The rest of the public parks throughout the city also participate with Providence Youth Services and the City of Providence to have similar events that include fun exercise and healthy food. These events are being run through the branch’s “Y on the Move” program.
 
"We are so thrilled to have received this grant. It allowed us to be part of a nationwide initiative. We believe that no child should go to bed hungry in a community with a Y,” says Achin. “This program helps children get the nutrition they need for good health, but it also will help alleviate the strain on family food budgets when school is out."
 

 

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