Austin, TX, July 05, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- While summer should be a time of fun, exploration and relaxation, many children are left without the nutrition they need to learn, grow and thrive. More than 21 million children lose access to free or reduced-cost meals once the school year ends, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To ensure that children in Austin have access to food year-round, the YMCA of Austin is offering free healthy meals and snacks through its summer food program, thanks to a $5,000 grant funded by the Walmart Foundation.
The Y has partnered with the Walmart Foundation to address child hunger in communities, with a focus on increasing participation in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out. According to the Food Research and Action Center, only one in seven children who depend on free or reduced-cost meals during the school year received meals though the SFSP last summer. This summer, more than 300 Ys nationwide will offer summer food programs with a collective goal to serve 5 million healthy meals and snacks to 100,000 children. Here in Austin, the Y plans to serve 12,000 meals and/or snacks to help 200 of children stay well-nourished.
“For some children in our communities, the end of the school year means the end of many daily meals,” said Andrew Wiggins Executive Director, Program Services YMCA, which coordinates Y camp programs. “At the Y, we are focused on making sure children stay healthy and well-nourished. Thanks to the partnership with the Walmart Foundation, our Y will be able to provide meals to children in the community who need them most.”
“At Walmart, we recognize the need to support the development of our nation’s youth,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President of the Walmart Foundation. “We know that providing access to healthy meals during the summer months will enable students to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed. By working closely with the YMCA of Austin, we can help kids have better summers and, ultimately, better lives.”
As part of the YMCA of Austin’s summer food program, children aged 18 and under will continue to receive one meal a day. Not only will this help hundreds of children stay well-nourished, active and energized all summer long, but it also will alleviate the strain on family food budgets when school is out. As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y is focused on ensuring that all children have access to food and maintain good health.
Nationally, the Y is a partner in the Walmart Foundation’s 2012 Summer Giving Campaign, which has committed more than $20 million in grants to expand nutrition, learning and employment programs for elementary, middle and high school students in more than 350 communities. The Walmart Foundation contributed a $5 million grant to YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) to address child hunger. Y-USA, in turn, passes the funding along in the form of grants to participating YMCAs.
Through the partnership with the Walmart Foundation as well as a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, free lunches will be available at one YMCA summer camp and at four YMCA Learning Centers, which are free programs for residents of affordable housing centers. Children participating in these programs enjoy arts & crafts, character development activities, and organized games throughout their summer days. Weekly themes, such as Superhero, Clue, and Splish Splash help keep each week unique and exciting. Additionally, children will participate in nutrition lessons from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and receive free reading instruction from certified elementary school teachers.
To learn more about the YMCA of Austin’s summer food program, visit ymca.net/summer-food-program.
About the YMCA of Austin
The YMCA of Austin is a nonprofit organization founded in 1953 and, today, serves over 50,000 members and provides youth, adult and family programs for more than 80,000 individuals through eight branches in Travis and Hays counties. In addition, the YMCA of Austin provides afterschool child care at 16 elementary schools in three school districts, and operates four additional YMCA Learning Centers. More information on the YMCA of Austin is available at www.austinymca.org.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.