Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department has received a $31,000 grant to increase access to healthy foods and nutrition education.

The funding is part of a $1.5 million grant that the National Recreation and Park Association received from the Walmart Foundation to distribute via park and recreation agencies nationwide.

The city was chosen as one of 27 agencies nationwide to receive funds.

The grants will be used to support the innovative strategies, including meal service equipment, transportation, staffing, marketing, healthy living opportunities, family engagement and enrichment activities, including nutrition education and community gardening.

“We are pleased Colorado Springs has been selected by NRPA to receive this important funding that will enhance our community’s food service program,” said Karen Palus, parks, recreation and cultural services director.

“Specifically, this grant will allow us to expand and improve the intergenerational meal programs at the Meadows Park Community Center, a critical component of the center’s offerings,” Palus said.

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Meadows Park Community Center, one of the city’s four community centers, will use the funds to enhance its after-school and summer feeding programs and help improve opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating.

The funding also will enable the center to create nutritional literacy materials to help ensure lifelong healthy habits for Colorado Springs youth.

Each of the city’s community centers strives to develop creative solutions to improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods.

For more information on current Meadows Park Community Center’s feeding programs, including BBUGS (Broad Based Universal Gardening Support), Colorado Springs Food Rescue and Fit Food Feast Boutique, and the Silver Key Connections Café, visit https://coloradosprings.gov/meadows-park-community-center.

“NRPA is thankful for our partnership with the Walmart Foundation to support local park and recreation agencies who make health and wellness a priority in the communities they serve — especially during out-of-school time,” said Kellie May, NRPA vice president of programs.

“Parks and recreation are proving their critical role in the health of their communities, and we can’t wait to see the impact this year’s grants will have on fostering lifelong healthy habits in children across the country,” May said.