PITTSBURG — Local children will be able to stop off at the Lincoln Center to receive a nutritious lunch this summer.

The City of Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Department received a $35,000 grant to support local healthy out-of-school time programs, allowing the resources needed to provide lunch to children ages 17 and under at the Lincoln Center. This will be the first time PPRD has been a food site for local children during the summer.

“We are very excited to receive the funds for sustainability and accomplish the health out-of-school food standards,” Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Kim Vogel said.

Not only will PPRD be serving lunch, the department will also provide evidence-based nutrition literacy to the children and their families. Information on physical activity will also be provided.

The grant was part of a $1.5 million grant the National Recreation and Park Association received from the Walmart Foundation to support out-of-school time programs in park and recreation agencies. According to a release, the grant supports NRPA’s campaign Commit to Health, which “encourages the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity.”
PPRD is working with Live Well Crawford County and USD 250 to make this possible. The United States Department of Agriculture is helping with food and Live Well Crawford County helped with the grant process and support.

Live Well Crawford County Health Equity Grant Coordinator Matt O’Malley said 57 percent of children in Crawford County are in free or reduced lunch programs during the school year.

He said the percentage of students in the program is higher than the state average.

“USD 250 and other schools are doing a great job,” he said. “But what happens during summer time?

“Having this in the summer is a chance to receive the great nutrients they get in the school year.”

O’Malley applauded Vogel for taking the initiative to make the grant possible.

The lunch at the Lincoln Center, USD 250s breakfast and lunch sites and dinner at The Lord’s Diner will help give children in need a nutritious three meals a day, O’Malley said.

Vogel said in the future, PPRD would like to have its own food nutrition program.

“The end goal is to be sustainable to serve at parks and other area to help feed more children,” she said.

More information will be released at a later date regarding time and dates for the food site.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.