Saturday, July 2, 2011

Walmart Foundation Donates $1 Million to Summer Learning, Lunch Programs

Grant celebration lunch.
Celebrating the Walmart Foundation grant at a Summer Fun Café barbecue are, from left, Trustee Shelia Jackson of the San Diego Unified School District, Randy Barth of THINK Together, City Council Member Tony Young and WalMart Regional Manager Steve Markey.

Grants from the Walmart Foundation will be helping students learn and lunch this summer.

The foundation awarded $750,000 to the THINK Together program for the daylong Summer Adventures Program at eight middle schools. San Diego Unified has contributed an additional $265,000 for the program, which runs June 27 to July 22.

In addition, the foundation awarded $233,450 to the Summer Fun Café program, which is the district's version of the USDA's Seamless Summer Lunch Program.

"This is a fantastic contribution that will directly help the children of San Diego," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "We appreciate the Walmart Foundation's support of these excellent programs."

The Summer Adventures Program provides an average of 140 students at eight schools the opportunity to catch up on grade-level skills, as well as learning teamwork and exercise through physical challenges. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs will also be explored.

"This is an excellent program for our students," said Mike George, Taft Middle School principal. "They're enjoying the learning and having a great summer."
In addition to Taft, other schools with the program are Bell, Lewis, Mann, Marston, Pacific Beach, Roosevelt and Wangenheim. Walmart Foundation's Smart Summers Program grant is designed to provide a comprehensive, high-quality full day summer school program that includes academic assistance, enrichment and physical fitness activities. The program is free to families.

The Summer Fun Café grant has allowed the district's Food Services Department to purchase equipment for the program, now in its eighth year. It has also funded a second barbecue at each location that is open to family members.

Free lunch -- and in some locations, breakfast and snacks -- is served at the Summer Fun Café to thousands of San Diego Unified students and other kids age 18 and under. More than 1,600 meals are served every weekday during the summer at schools and City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department Recreation Centers.

Additional milk coolers, barbecues and other equipment are being purchased with the grant funds.

"This grant is helping us make sure we're doing everything possible to help stop child hunger in our community," said Gary Petill, Food Services director. "Kids will continue to get a healthy lunch and, with our partners the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, some good exercise as well."

For more information on the grants, contact: for Summer Adventures Program, Christianne Trout-McPhee, manager, Exteded Learning Program, (858) 496-1947; or for Summer Fun Café, Gary Petill, Food Services director, (858) 627-7301.

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