Grant will benefit ACS feeding programs

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, left, presents a $40,000 grant to Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition Department employees Melody Bailey and Heather McDermott during an Aug. 8 City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, left, presents a $40,000 grant to Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition Department employees Melody Bailey and Heather McDermott during an Aug. 8 City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition Department will be able to help offset the expense of operating its afterschool and summer feeding programs thanks to a recent grant the city secured for the program.

During an Aug. 8 City Council meeting, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon presented a $40,000 National League of Cities grant to the ACS child nutrition program to benefit the two programs.

Handlon said her executive assistant, Karen Fillingim, worked with CNP employees to draft the grant proposal. Through the grants, the National League of Cities is looking to support programs combating hunger in their communities.

“We take every opportunity we can to partner with our schools,” Handlon said as she presented the check to CNP employees Heather McDermott and Melody Bailey. “The grant was originally for $26,000, but we became aware of additional funds, so we reapplied and got the full $40,000.”

McDermott said half of the grant money will benefit the ACS afterschool feeding program, and said the other half will benefit the school system’s summer feeding program. The grant money will primarily cover salaries tied to those two programs, she said.

Last school year, ACS launched its afterschool feeding program, through which students in extracurricular and afterschool programs receive free healthy snacks and dinners during the school week.

For the past two summers, the school system has held its summer feeding program, which offers free breakfasts and lunches to children and low-cost meals to adults at multiple school sites in the city.

Both programs are primarily funded by federal grants, and are aimed at ensuring community members – especially children ­– have access to nutritious meals outside school hours, McDermott said.