GCPR commission earns grant to fight hunger in children during the summer

GENESEE COUNTY — Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has been selected to benefit from a $1.5 million grant received by NRPA from the Walmart Foundation to support summer feeding programs in 28 park and recreation agencies across the U.S.

Genesee County Parks has received a $20,000 grant to support its food service program in Burton, Flint, Flushing, and Linden.

“Helping children and families in our local community is a key objective of Genesee County Parks,” said Nancy Edwards, recreation program specialist of Genesee County parks. “We are thrilled to be a part of NRPA’s national effort to combat hunger, particularly in these troubled economic times, and are pleased that Walmart has lent their support to the Genesee County Parks. Through Walmart’s generosity, 300 plus of our area children will have better, more nutritious summers.”

Support for the feeding program is part of Walmart’s Summer Giving Campaign — a $20 million initiative aimed at filling the gaps created when schools close for the summer. The initiative will help expand nutrition, learning and employment services to children throughout the summer months.

While many children look forward to the summer break, recent research shows that health may decline in children during the summer due to lower levels of physical activity and lack of access to healthy meals.

Only one in seven of the low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2010- 2011 school year received summer meals in July 2011 according to a report released by the Food Research and Action Center in June 2012.“Park and recreation agencies are on the frontline in the fight to reduce hunger especially among children,” said Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of NRPA. “The generous gift from the Walmart Foundation will help our local champions provide nutritious meals for millions of children and support the development of a healthy, connected and active generation of Americans.”

Through Genesee County Parks Summer Playground Program local children will have plenty of opportunities to be kids. Besides all the colorful playground equipment at the Genesee County Parks, there are special make-it-and-take-it crafts and plenty of physical activities scheduled every day from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Lunch is served from noon to 1 p.m. and snack is served from 3-3:30 p.m. The cost is free and registration is not required. Parents and guardians must complete a release form before kids can participate.

Details: Visit www.nrpa.org/feeding or email joconnor@nrpa.org.

Bluebell Beach, Davison Roadside Park, Flushing and Linden County Parks are owned and operated by the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission. Bluebell Beach is located at 5500 Bray Rd.

Davison Roadside Park is located at 6160 Davison Rd., Burton.

Flushing County Park is located at 4417 McKinley Rd., Flushing.

Linden County Park is located at 15349 Linden Rd., Linden. — G.G.

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