Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota received a $25,000 Walmart Foundation grant to support its daily meal program and comprehensive nutrition program to build healthy lifestyles for the children it serves. In 2016, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota served more than 109,000 meals and 235,000 snacks at the three Clubs and 15 KIDSTOP locations, and they are on track to serve more this year.
“There is nothing more basic or more important than feeding hungry children,” said Director of Development Deb Nebosis. She said the group is thankful to Walmart for helping to support basic needs.
The socioeconomic situations of many Minnesota children prevent them from eating daily nutritious meals. Sixty percent of St. Cloud school district students rely on free and reduced lunches as their major food source, and 200 students are reporting homelessness. Moreover, approximately 93% of the children served by the Boys & Girls Club are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program at school. Summers are even more critical for children when they lose this primary food source. This is why Boys & Girls Clubs offer a daily meal program to members and their families year-round.
“We feel it is our responsibility to fulfill our members’ basic needs for nutrition so we can expect to see positive results in all aspects of their lives, and ultimately, our community’s future,” said Nebosis.
The meal program is also supported by the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during the school year and the Summer Food Service Program during the summer months.
“By working together with local Minnesota nonprofit organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, we are able to make a significant impact in our local communities,” said Matt Armiger, Walmart regional general manager. “We are proud to help combat hunger and improve the healthy lifestyles of our children throughout Minnesota.”
Boys & Girls Club staff also provide a comprehensive nutrition education program called Healthy Habits to encourage members to lead healthy lifestyles. Healthy Habits is designed to incorporate healthy living and active learning in every part of the Club experience. Through this program, children gain knowledge regarding nutrition, making good food choices, and understanding portion sizes. They learn that healthy eating choices, combined with an active lifestyle are the recipe for improving one’s overall well-being.
Twice a year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation look for organizations that address the needs of the communities they serve and make a significant social impact on a local and state level. Committed to serving the communities where stores are located, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation contributed more than $28.5 million in Minnesota in FYE 17 to support local organizations.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota’s meal program or to participate, please visit our website at www.bgcmn.org or visit one of the Clubs during mealtime at 5 p.m.