TUSCO Commissioner Donates $250K In ARPA Funding To Secret Meals

TUSCALOOSA, AL — District 3 County Commissioner Mark Nelson has donated $250,000 from his district’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children.

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As Patch has previously reported, the program helps school counselors and teachers to identify food insecure children in local schools, before providing 3.5 pounds of food packs to secretly place into those students’ backpacks on Friday afternoons.

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Nelson said his donation will fund a year’s worth of food for kids in their program and went on to explain that the program is currently serving 1,423 students every weekend in west Alabama.

In all, the program serves 22 Tuscaloosa County schools and 16 Tuscaloosa city schools.

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“It will cost $199,220 to serve 1,423 students for an entire school year,” he told Patch. “They expect our numbers to rise in the next school year due to inflation.”

Indeed, the program served 1,100 children during the 2020-21 school year — a number that rose to 1,359 in 2021-22. Nelson also commended Alabama Credit Union for its longstanding support of secret meals.

“We are blessed to be able to support such a worthwhile program that makes a direct and significant impact on the lives of our children in Tuscaloosa County,” he said. “It is heartbreaking to think that there are children in our county that might not have enough to eat over the weekend without this program. It is obvious that the number of children that benefit from this program is only increasing and that makes it even more important to support Secret Meals.”

To learn more about the program or to donate, click here.

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