Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today named the city of Navasota and Mayor Bert Miller winners of the 2011 Mayors Challenge award for promoting child nutrition and making healthy food available to more Texas children through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Summer Nutrition Programs.
“Children who eat nutritious meals often perform better academically and are healthier overall, which decreases their dependence on medical care,” Commissioner Staples said. “These Summer Nutrition Programs are intended to offer a temporary bridge toward self-sufficiency while providing short-term assurance that Texas children don’t go hungry during the summer months when schools are closed. I commend Mayor Miller and the Navasota community for accepting my Mayors Challenge and making it a priority to improve the health of Texas children.”
A report by Feeding America ranked Texas as having one of the highest rates of food-insecure children in the United States. Through the Mayors Challenge, Commissioner Staples brings together Texas cities, schools, non-profit organizations and churches to work together to increase community awareness and participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs.
In recognition of Navasota’s first-place victory, Mayor Miller received a check for $1,500 provided by H-E-B in support of the Mayors Challenge. Winning mayors donate the funds to a charity of their choice. The Brazos Valley Food Bank was chosen as the recipient to be used specifically for the Navasota ISD summer backpack program.
Mayor Miller credited support from local media, the school district and others in winning the Mayors Challenge.
“This award shows that we care about kids and want them to have access to good meals, even when they’re not in school,” Mayor Miller said. “Some of these children may not have a healthy meal for an extended period of time if this program was not in place. "
The second place Mayors Challenge award went to Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass.
More About TDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs
The federally funded Summer Nutrition Programs, administered by TDA, provide free meals during the summer break to children who typically rely on meals served at school. Contracting entities such as schools, non-profits and churches are reimbursed for providing the meals. The programs offer free meals in areas where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. Special considerations also allow for sites to operate in communities with less than 50 percent eligibility. In 2011, 405 contracting entities served more than 16 million meals at 5,094 summer meal sites.