By JOSHUA PHILLIPS
June 19, 2013
To gain help on how to reduce childhood hunger, a Kansas City, Mo., leadership team was selected to attend a regional conference.
The National League of Cities selected Kansas City, Mo., to learn how to leverage federal funding to reduce childhood hunger during the regional conference in Denver, Colo., May 22 and 23 as part of the Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative.
“The city has not raised enough awareness to use certain programs for participation of reducing childhood hunger,” said Deborah Mann, executive director of Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center. “As a city we can learn through our partnerships to feed children through the resources we already have.”
Kansas City’s leadership team included Mann, Councilman Scott Wagner and Angela Jeppesen, program manager of Harvesters, Inc. The leadership academies focused on gaining funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Afterschool Meal Program and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
“I was excited Kansas City was chosen for the leadership academies,” Mann said. “As a city we stand for resolving issues in our community for our young people. I learned a lot from this experience.”
One of the programs mentioned at the leadership academies was the MY Denver card program. In this program, Denver youths have free access to services provided by the city of Denver, such as access to public libraries and community recreation centers.
Mann thought of taking that model a step further by allowing children the ability to access healthy meals while doing healthy activities at the community recreation centers or at local swimming pools. Mann said she hopes to set up a mapping system of Kansas City to reduce childhood hunger.
“The need is to have the opportunity to leverage assets we already have with the city,” Wagner said. “We need to match up our assets by bringing the health and parks and rec departments to the discussion and use our primary vehicles where we already offer services.”
Wagner also having the promotional abilities to promote the feeding sites will be helpful since people are not well aware of services like these.
“I think we should set up a system with a map of Kansas City to show the gaps so we can make partnerships in those areas,” Mann said. “Everyone would have access to the mapping system so that people can see where the feeding sites are.”