Chicago Park District Receives Grant to Develop Nutrition and Health Hubs in Parks

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Chicago Park District, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has received an $80,000 grant to develop a community nutrition hub to expand access to healthy foods through park and recreation programs and services. This is part of a $2.5 million grant NRPA received from the Walmart Foundation to build capacity in park and recreation agencies across the country and serve as intentional community nutrition hubs that improve health outcomes for community members. The grant will support the Park District’s efforts to increase access to healthy foods, nutrition education and wellness opportunities through established connections with Chicago agencies serving food, including Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Greater Food Depository. NRPA seeks to expand the role and capacity of local parks and recreation to improve food access across diverse communities and generations by piloting and evaluating four strategies:

• Increase access to healthy foods in low income areas through federally funded nutrition programs through parks and partners;

• Implement diverse models as well as analyze and share best practices for parks and recreation to serve as nutrition hubs, including screening for food insecurity and providing SNAP/WIC enrollment and retention assistance, establishing referral systems, hosting farmers markets and accepting benefits, and offering intergenerational health literacy and meal programs;

• Provide evidence-based nutrition literacy resources that will reduce food insecurity and create behavior change, including increased consumption and preparation of fruits and vegetables and increase confidence in healthy decision-making; and

• Disseminate information about healthy meals and access to food through our established communication outlets.

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