15 cities have been selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to receive grants and assistance in developing year-round out-of-school meal programs to combat childhood hunger.

Cities selected include:

  • Baltimore, Md.;
  • Columbus, Ohio;
  • Gary, Ind.;
  • Hagerstown, Md.;
  • Houston, Texas;
  • Kansas City, Kan.;
  • Louisville, Ky.;
  • Missoula, Mont.;
  • Providence, R.I.;
  • Rochester, N.Y.;
  • Seattle, Wash.;
  • Tacoma, Wash.;
  • Tallahassee, Fla.;
  • Trotwood, Ohio;
  • Waco, Texas

According to program materials, these 15 cities will receive between $40,000 and $60,000 in regranted funding and technical assistance over the next year. Funding will be provided through the NLC’s Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative, supported by The Walmart Foundation, and conducted in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center.

The project aims to help cities leverage federal resources – such as the Afterschool Meal Program and Summer Food Service Program – to insure children of low-income families that rely on school-provided meals will not go hungry, according to the NLC report.

The CHAMPS program selected cities based on the strength of proposals for year-round sustainable plans to provide food to children in need. According to the report, cities were invited to submit proposals after participating in two regional leadership academies sponsored by the NLC.

According to project materials, selected cities plan to expand existing programs and launch new projects to provide afterschool and summer meals. Kansas City, Kan., for example, plans to create 10 new afterschool meal sites and 10 to 12 new summer meal sites while transitioning all 24 of their current sites from serving snacks to meals.

Tacoma, Wash., plans to use funding to strengthen efforts hobbled by budgetary shortfalls. Last year, the NLC reports Tacoma was forced to shutter six sites and limit the number of weeks food could be served at others. Tacoma plans to use the money to increase the number of summer meal sites as well as the hours these sites stay open. The city also plans to establish partnerships with potential meal sites, including libraries, clubs and schools, so needy children will be in close proximity to aid.

John Marks, Mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., told local TV news source, WCTV, “Child hunger is an often ignored and truly heartbreaking issue, and our community is dedicated to doing all that we can to ensure no child is left hungry. This grant will fund the infrastructure needed to provide nearly 75,000 additional suppers per year to young people in Tallahassee and Leon County.”

To learn more about the program click here.