Friday, July 15, 2011

Grant Helps City Provide Free Summer Meals for Children

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities will be able to expand and enhance its free summer meals program for children and its child and adult care food programs with a funding boost from Walmart and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The department was among 30 agencies chosen nationwide to benefit from a $2.1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation and will receive $40,000.         The funding is part of Walmart’s Summer Giving Campaign, a broad $25 million initiative aimed at filling the gaps in food service created when schools close for summer. The initiative is expected to impact more than 110,000 U.S. middle and high school students throughout the summer months.
        “Kids should have every opportunity to grow into successful adults and we’re doing our part to make sure that’s the case this summer,” said Walmart Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Leslie Dach. “From helping thousands of kids stay active and learn, to supporting summer job programs and providing nutritious meals, we’re committed to making a difference.”
        “Helping children and families in Richmond is a key objective of our department,” said department director, Dr. Norman C. Merrifield. “We are thrilled to be a part of NRPA’s national effort to combat hunger, particularly in these difficult economic times. With this generous support from the Walmart Foundation, we hope to provide an additional 50,000 healthy meals and snacks through our food service programs for free.”
        The department has provided food services since 1983 and will use its share of the funding to hire additional staff to help serve food, to buy additional tables and chairs to enhance service, and to market its food programs. The meals and snacks used by the department are provided through U.S. Department of Agriculture feeding programs and served for free at department community centers and other sites throughout Richmond and the surrounding area. No advance registration is required to walk in and receive a free meal or snack, and any agency or organization that provides programs for youth ages one up to 18 can participate as a food service site in the department’s programs.
        “Park and recreation agencies are on the frontline in the fight to build and maintain healthy communities,” said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. “This 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.”
Kids Eat Free meal locations:

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. For additional information on how Walmart is bringing its commitment to hunger relief to life this summer, visit

About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities for the City of Richmond strives to provide exceptional recreation programs and park facilities to enhance the quality of life for its citizens and visitors to the city and to preserve and protect the city’s natural areas of unique or exceptional scenic, cultural, archaeological or historic significance for future generations to enjoy and embrace.
For more information on NRPA’s food service programs, contact Jimmy O’Connor, senior manager of corporate grants, at For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

About the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities