Wholesome Entry To Meals To Broaden With New Grant In Milwaukee Suburbs

The West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreational and Community Services Department is able to expand access to healthy food through its programs with a new $ 80,000 grant.

The grant, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, is part of a $ 2.5 million grant the association received from the Walmart Foundation, according to a press release for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District. The grant allows park and recreation agencies across the country to set up community feeding centers to improve the health of community members.

The department works with Caitlyn White, who works with the City of West Allis and oversees the West Allis Farmers Market, and Cheryl Davies, a nutritionist with the West Allis Health Department.

The grant will allow the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Service Department to create three programs, according to Shelly Strasser, the division director.

  • A mini marketer program for children. The program gives children ages 8 to 12 a chance to learn about and use the farmers market, teach them the importance of buying local products, and give the children money to buy products to take home can take.
  • A program that enables West Allis Farmers Market to provide delivery services to participants in the special supplementary nutrition program for women, infants and children. The program was set up as part of a needs assessment with WIC-participating families to determine whether the farmers’ market times were appropriate, whether they had adequate means of transport and what societal challenges they faced.
  • The third program offers a free family meal once a week to highlight the importance and benefits of eating as a family, as well as nutrition education.

Improving good access between different communities

The National Recreation and Park Association seeks to expand the roles and capacities of local parks and recreation departments to improve access to food in various communities. The organization aims to do this by improving access to healthy food in low-income areas through government-funded nutrition programs. There is also an attempt to share best practices for these departments to serve as feeding centers. These practices include deploying Help registering for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC programs, targeting farmers’ markets and offering health literacy and intergenerational meal programs, and providing evidence-based nutritional literacy resources to reduce food insecurity and change behavior, it said in the district press release.

Association vice president of programs and partnerships, Kellie May, said the Walmart Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the organization and has helped reduce food insecurity and hunger across the country through a variety of evidence-based strategies such as mobile food delivery.

“They have been absolutely a supporter, also focused on communities with colored and low-income households, and prioritized those investments for those communities that need them most,” May said.

Contact Alec Johnson at (262) 875-9469 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ AlecJohnson12.

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