Project Bread to Give $245,000 to Summer Programs; Kids to Get Food With Fun at 53 Programs in 18 Cities Across Massachusetts
EAST BOSTON, Mass., June 30 -- When school is out, kids who rely on free or reduced-price meals need a safe place to go where they can get a healthy meal and have some summer fun. That’s why, over the next week, Project Bread is giving $245,000 in Summer Food Service Program Incentive Grants to 53 programs in 17 cities and towns hardest hit by hunger.
The 53 programs receiving grants include local Boys and Girls Clubs, community centers, school- and playground-based programs, church programs, and YMCAs. These are located in the cities and towns identified by Project Bread as most needing assistance, including Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Hyannis, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Revere, Salem, Southbridge, Springfield, and Worcester.
“As part of our child hunger prevention work, ” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread, “we’re committed to feeding kids where they live, learn, and play. Kids are scattered over the summer months, making it more difficult to feed them. For this reason, we’ve made an investment in bringing food and fun together at neighborhood programs that are attractive and meaningful to families.”
The grant money is designated to strengthen and expand existing programs and add new sites where needed. Grants can be used to acquire food storage and preparation equipment, sports or arts and crafts equipment, even books and air conditioning - whatever it takes to add a new site or enrich the programming and expand the number of children served.
“It’s far-sighted of Project Bread to give us the flexibility to spend our grant money on creating a safe and fun Summer Program for Greater Lowell’s youth,” said Michelle Meehan, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell. “By providing young people with a variety of social, recreational, technological, leadership, cultural, and arts programs, we’re able to attract many more youth and teens to our Club. Once they’re here, we know that they have a safe place to play, eat a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and evening meal, and have fun at the same time. It’s a win-win-win!”
Project Bread’s grants are part of its ongoing work to prevent hunger in children.
“Child development experts know that children undergo a very important growth cycle during the spring and summer,” said Liz Miller, M.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital Health Care Center in Revere. “We want to be sure that all kids are well nourished and return to school ready to learn. A whole summer of deficit nourishment and growth is very difficult to make up.”
Most summer programs start right after school closes. However, advocates say there is still time to sign up. For more information on programs in your neighborhood, call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.
Project Bread, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continuous pledge walk in the country, Project Bread provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to 400 emergency food programs in 132 communities statewide. Project Bread also advocates systemic solutions that prevent hunger in children and that provide food to families in natural, everyday settings. For more information on Project Bread and the numerous food programs it supports, visit http://www.projectbread.org.
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