Waco, Tx (KWKT) — The National League of Cities (NLC) has selected Waco as one of the 21 cities nationwide to participate in a leadership academy that will help the city reduce childhood hunger by leveraging federal funding.
Kelsey Scherer, child hunger outreach specialist at Baylor's University's Texas Hunger Initiative, Waco Regional Office, Earl Stinnett, program coordinator for city of Waco Parks and Recreation, and Candace Hayes, community ministries coordinator of Greater Harvest Assembly, make up the team of Waco Representatives. The Texas Hunger Initiative is based in the Baylor University School of Social Work.
The academy will take place May 22 and May 23 in Denver, CO as part of the Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs initiative.
The project is funded by a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.
39 cities across the country applied for the opportunity to attend the leadership academy. Waco and Houston were the only two cities chosen from Texas.
Scherer, Stinnett, and Hayes have collaborated in applying for the opportunity to attend the CHAMPS leadership academy with hopes to gain the appropriate knowledge and skills to ensure that Waco's city offices, non profit second, and faith based organizations are fully utilizing federal reimbursement opportunities.
The effort has united representatives from sectors of the city who don't often cross paths in the work week for the purpose of feeding hungry children in Waco after school hours.
At the academy, representatives from the selected cities will hear from federal nutrition program experts and have the opportunity to learn from other cities' successes as they discuss experiences and challenges in providing adequate nutrition for local children.
The CHAMPS initiative is designed to help cities increase the number of children receiving healthy meals at after school and summer programs by drawing on funding from two sources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: the Afterschool Meal Program and the Summer Food Service Program.
This funding provides federal reimbursement to cities, school districts, and nonprofits that offer meals to children to participate in meal programs outside of regular school hours. These meals are crucial to children that are a part of families who struggle to put nutritious meals on the table.