Did you know that over 294,000 children in Alabama live in food insecure households*? That means many families in our five county service area have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Understanding that healthy, nutritious food is a building block for healthy children, the Bold Goals for Health partners United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (CFGB) jointly crafted a Child Nutrition Request for Proposal in the spring of 2015 and made a financial commitment to fund promising partnerships to address the needs within the community. The purpose of the RFP was to improve access to nutritious food for food insecure children and their families in Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, Walker and St. Clair Counties.
Funding was aimed at supporting partners and their collaborative projects as they add or expand feeding sites, improve nutritional quality and variety of meals served, incorporate support and education for families, and leverage federal resources like the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program. After careful consideration, over $180,000 in grant funding was awarded to four exemplary organizations: Alabaster City Schools, Blount County Education Foundation, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and New Rising Star Community Support Corporation.
- Alabaster City Schools will be using their funds to expand their summer feeding program via a retrofitted bus that will enable mobile delivery of meals throughout the summer. They plan to deliver to three satellite locations that will be established in conjunction with local churches and community partners. Ultimately, meals and educational experiences will be provided to 1000 additional children.
- The Blount County Education Foundation will be collaborating with the Blount County Department of Education for a three-year summer feeding project. Their goal is to serve 12,000 meals at four schools in 2016, and expand the program in the future. The theme of outreach efforts is healthy living, which will engage and educate students and their families about the importance of eating nutritious foods.
- Greater Birmingham Ministries will be working with congregations, community groups, residents, and stakeholders to expand the Thank Goodness I’m Fed summer feeding program to serve low-wealth children in Hoover, Alabama. In fact, this will be the first summer feeding site for the city of Hoover. Hoover’s large underserved immigrant population has high rates of food insecurity and is less likely to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
- New Rising Star Community Support Corporation will be expanding its current summer feeding program to feed approximately 300 additional children in the summer of 2016. They will also be expanding their at-risk snack program to feed approximately 285 children, starting with the 2015-2016 school year. New Rising Star is collaborating on this project with two Birmingham Housing Authority sites and six Eastern area Birmingham Public Library sites.
UWCA and CFGB staff are working closely with the following organizations and agencies to provide support for grant activities:
- Alabama State Department of Education, which currently administers the Summer Food Service Program. To Learn more about the Summer Food Service Program, go to www.breakforaplate.com.
- End Child Hunger in Alabama Task Force – a statewide, multi-sector initiative launched at Auburn University to address the critical issues of hunger and food insecurity that affect more than 25 percent of Alabama’s children and youth. To learn more about ECHS, click here: www.endchildhungeral.org.
*Map the Meal Gap 2015, page 28. Feeding America. (2015). Map the Meal Gap 2015, Highlights of Findings for Overall and Child Food Insecurity. Washington, DC