The need for healthy meals doesn't end with the school day or when summer begins. However, only 6.6% of children living in low-income households who eat school lunch also receive an afterschool meal, and just 13.8% receive a summer meal. However, thousands of providers across the country are working tirelessly to change this.
The No Kid Hungry campaign is thrilled to recognize ten all-star summer and afterschool meals providers as Out of School Time Meals Champions!
Here are some highlights from this fantastic group of champions:
Eugenie Sellier and has nearly a decade of experience working in these programs and anti-hunger work. Since arriving at the Alabama Food Bank Association, Sellier has successfully transitioned their youth-serving meal programs to a year-round service model – ensuring 365 days of nutrition for her community.
Walter Campbell – Charleston County School District, South Carolina
Walter Campbell and his team are responsible for serving nutritious meals to more than 48,000 students in 75 facilities that span over 1,300 square miles along the coast. The programs he leads are one of the largest in South Carolina. Campbell and his team's driving purpose is to keep "students at the heart of our work" in everything they do.
Jeffrey Snyder – Osage Prairie YMCA , Missouri
Jeffrey Snyder is the CEO of the Osage Prairie YMCA, which serves Vernon County and Cedar County, and surrounding communities in West Central Missouri. The YMCA has served more than 2 million meals since March 2020 and has grown so efficient it can serve approximately 20,000 meals in three hours. Snyder is committed to the mission of serving others and is a self-proclaimed "Y lifer through and through!"
Brendia Moses – KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Kentucky
Brendia Moses is the community resource & wellness director at KCEOC Community Action Partnership, an organization that serves rural southeastern Kentucky and operates in extremely rural areas disproportionately impacted by generational poverty compounded with rural landscapes in the heart of Appalachia. Moses is passionate about her work and is grateful to dedicate her time to serving others and spreading hope one meal at a time.
Jennifer Brown – Swain County Schools, North Carolina
In 2013, when Jennifer Brown started as the school nutrition director at Swain County Schools, there was just one summer meals site, and now there are more than twenty! Her program went from 1,000 meals served in 2013 to 43,030 meals served in 2019. Along with expanding the reach of their summer meals program, Brown is responsible for expanding their afterschool meals program from serving just a snack to a full supper. She loves being able to remove barriers to access and utilization of nutrition programs for her community. “It is like putting a puzzle together and being rewarded by seeing kids and families benefit from our work!”
Jeremy Hahn – Life360 Community Services, Missouri
Jeremy Hahn has focused his career on community involvement and partnerships that create opportunities for youth and their families. While Life360 started operating just in Springfield, Mo., it now runs programs in over 100 rural communities across four states offering preschool, afterschool, youth entrepreneurship, career placement, nutrition services and a progressive housing program. The summer and afterschool meals programs give Life360 the ability to form strong relationships within communities while dreaming of other ways to make an impact.
Lynsi Barnhill – Paducah Public Schools, Kentucky
Lynsi Barnhill is the director of nutrition services at Paducah Public Schools and co-founder of School and Transition Assistance for Youth (STAY). STAY strives to break down barriers and alleviate the effects of homelessness and food insecurity for students. Barnhill loves knowing that her and her team’s work afford children the opportunity to focus on learning by providing meals at no charge to all students, every day. Barnhill believes the impact school nutrition provides stretches far beyond the classroom and sees its benefits with every meal she serves.
Melissa Weissler – Operation Food Search, Missouri and Illinois
Melissa Weissler is the senior manager of child & community nutrition programs at Operation Food Search (OFS), a major Food Bank in St. Louis. OFS serves 17 counties across Missouri and Illinois. Weissler led OFS to transition from a summer to a year-round program by adding afterschool meals, and her leadership facilitated the expansion of service during the COVID-19 pandemic from serving 2,000 to 15,000 meals per week in just a matter of days.
Nicole Lowe – YMCA of Greater Seattle, Washington
Nicole Lowe leads out the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s food access work and supports a broad spectrum of youth programs. In the twenty years of Lowe’s experience operating child nutrition programs, the past two years have been by far the most difficult yet the most inspiring. She is most proud of how the collaboration with the United Way of King County to develop innovative approaches to meet community need throughout the pandemic. One of her favorite things about her job is visiting meal sites and participating in activities alongside the kids and seeing their joy.
Constance Moore – YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South, Tennessee
Constance Moore is the Compliance Officer with the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South. In addition to serving inner-city Memphis, the YMCA reaches thousands more daily throughout Shelby County through afterschool meals and Y on the Fly programs. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has served more than three million meals. An experienced food programs leader, Moore has over 10 years of policy experience with the State of Tennessee, and uses this knowledge to improve the quality and reach of summer and afterschool meals programs.