On Thursday, July 20, representatives from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue, at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Washington, D.C. The site visit will highlight the critical role local park and recreation agencies play in providing activities, programming and meals to children during out-of-school time throughout the country. During the secretary’s visit, he will interact and eat breakfast — part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) — with the children enrolled in DPR’s summer programming.
“NRPA is honored to host Secretary Perdue at this event,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Secretary Perdue understands the importance of parks and recreation in keeping kids healthy, active and engaged. Administration involvement is essential to the ongoing success of our agency’s out-of-school time programming and activities, including summer meals.”
“Hunger doesn’t take a vacation,” said DPR director Keith A. Anderson. “DPR takes nutrition very seriously and operates a number of free meal programs at DPR centers across the district. A healthy body helps to build a healthy mind, and this summer, DPR camps are a great way for youth to stay engaged, be active, and develop new skills and interests.”
Local park and recreation agencies are one of the top providers of out-of-school time programming in the United States. In fact, nine in 10 agencies offer at least one out-of-school time program. Moreover, park and recreation agencies are the second largest provider of out-of-school time meals. Fifty-seven percent of park and recreation agencies provide meals through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal programs, including SFSP and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.