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franklin county times
PHOTO BY LAUREN WESTER Councilmen Jamie Harris (left) and Arthur Elliott (right) join Mayor David Grissom in recognizing the extension of the CHAMPS grant and the importance it holds for the children of Russellville.

Grant extension combats childhood hunger

Russellville made another step toward combating child hunger at the beginning of October when the Parks and Recreation department opened a second afterschool program at the Ralph Bishop Community Center. This program is the result of an extension of the CHAMPS grant that made the first afterschool program at the Chucky Mullins Center possible.

The extension of the program and its service to the community caught the attention of the people who make the grant possible and brought them all the way down from Washington, D.C.

Dawn Schluckebier and Signe Anderson, along with Loura Lester from Huntsville, attended the press conference/kickoff party for the grant extension at the Chucky Mullins Center Oct. 17.

“We love getting the chance to actually visit the cities and programs that are being helped by the grant,” Anderson said.

Anderson is a senior child nutrition policy analyst with the Food Research and Action Center. Schluckebier is a principal associate with the National League of Cities. Anderson explained that a central part of their job is assisting cities and programs with how to operate under the grant and providing them with information and education.

“Having meals along with the tutoring really makes the program stronger,” Anderson said.

Schluckebier said the main goal of the CHAMPS grant is to help cities gain access to federally-funded afterschool and summer school meal programs that connect children with nutritious meals and quality enrichment and education programs.

Mayor David Grissom and councilmen Jamie Harris and Arthur Elliott were also at the event and expressed their gratitude and support for the Parks and Recreation Department and the programs.

“It’s a great way to keep kids engaged when the school day ends and provide them with a safe and supervised environment,” Grissom said.

Providing that environment for the children is what Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chad Sears said the program is all about.

“We’re happy to provide this service to Russellville and give the opportunity for free meals and tutoring to the kids,” Sears said.

The program runs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at the Chucky Mullins Center and the Ralph Bishop Center.

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