Metroball and Honored Guests Celebrate DC Meals Program – Press Release

Join U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Meet the Press Host David Gregory, the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and D.C. Hunger Solutions to Celebrate the DC Free Summer Meals Program at MetroBall’s Youth Summer Event

 Contact: Sara McGovern, smcgovern@frac.org, (202) 640-1089

Washington, DC – Join the District government agencies that help support the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, along with D.C. Hunger Solutions, to celebrate the success of the program and its second year of serving meals on Saturday at various meal sites, including MetroBall’s 14th Annual New York Ave Classic Summer Youth Basketball Tournament, on August 2 from 12:45 PM to 1:30 PM.

Watch MetroBall youth partake in a skills challenge with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Meet the Press host David Gregory, and State Superintendent of Education Jesús Aguirre. Acting Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation Dr. Sharia Shanklin will also be in attendance.

 What/Who:    Photo/B-roll opportunity and media availability: Secretary Duncan, David Gregory, Superintendent Aguirre, and Acting Director Shanklin will join with Metroball participants and speak on the importance of the availability of healthy wholesome meals year-round, especially during the summer and its impact on children’s ability to learn, play and grow.

 When: Saturday, August 2, 2014  12:45 PM to 1:30 PM

12:45 PM: Opening remarks and basketball skills competition with Secretary Duncan, David Gregory, and Superintendent Aguirre

1:00 PM: Lunch, remarks and awards

Where:           New York Avenue Playground -  100 N Street, NW  Washington DC 20001

 School is out for summer, but hunger does not take a break. Fortunately, the DC Free Summer Meals Program helps 23,800 children and teens each day have access to free lunches at more than 320 sites throughout the city. Summer meals sites are now open on Saturdays at select Department of Parks and Recreation Centers, DC Public Library locations, and community-based organizations.

MetroBall’s Annual New York Ave Classic Summer Basketball Tournament, a new Saturday meal site this year, thanks to the sponsorship of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, feeds more than 120 youth a healthy meal on Saturdays throughout the summer. Fueled with nutrition, students focus on positive reinforcement, trust building and achieving their goals with the aid of coaches and instructors and the support of the Metropolitan Police Department.

The D.C. Free Summer Meals Program is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Program, administered locally by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Each summer the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation sponsors more than 200 sites.

The District of Columbia continues to rank first in the nation for reaching low-income children with summer meals. According to Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, an annual analysis by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 23,868 low-income children received summer meals on an average day in July 2013 — a substantial increase of 10.9 percent from the previous summer. Summer meals reached 57.9 students for every 100 low-income children who got school lunch in the 2012-2013 school year, outpacing that national rate of 15.1:100.

Throughout the District, summer meals programs provide children and teens with healthy meals, and academic enrichment, keeping them safe and engaged, and preventing summer learning loss.

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