Molina photo

McAllen ISD’s highly successful meals program is about to become a subject of study for other schools nationwide.

Alexandra Molina, McAllen ISD’s Executive Director of Child Nutrition and Purchasing, will be sharing the district’s model. She is one of just 12 nationwide members, and the only one from Texas, to be chosen to serve with a leading champion of food insecurity – No Kid Hungry.

The group is called the No Kid Hungry 2023 Out of School Time Meals Champion Cohort.

“I was selected as one of the 12 nationwide for our work with our after-school supper program and our incredible summer meals program with all our sponsors and school sites,” Molina said.

This selection effectively recognizes McAllen ISD for its exemplary work to end hunger in its community through these programs. The after-school supper program provides meals for more than 4,600 children after school at all 30 campuses plus community-partner sites like Lark Community Center, Palmview Community Center and two McAllen Boys and Girls Club centers. It began approximately five years ago.

The summer meals program has existed for more than 25 years. Meals are provided free for children up to age 18 at multiple sites across McAllen including schools, parks, community centers and places of worship.

Building on the work of a highly successful inaugural cohort, this group will work over the next year to raise awareness about the summer and after-school meals programs, provide their support and expertise to new program sponsors, and work together to develop and share promising practices to providers across the country.

No Kid Hungry will sponsor Molina’s visits with congressional leaders, USDA administrators and philanthropic partners who are all working toward reducing food insecurity.

“Kids need proper nutrition to learn, thrive and grow, both in school and out,” Paige Pokorney, Program Manager for the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices, said. “These champions work tirelessly to ensure kids have access to three meals a day, every day. A huge part of this is getting them the food they need during times when school breakfasts and lunches aren’t available, like after school and over the summer. We’re so excited to work with and learn from these champions over the next 12 months.” 

Ensuring children have access to meals when they are not in school has always been important; that’s been clearer than ever in the recent past. This cohort seeks to build on that momentum going forward and will continue to innovate in a changing landscape to ensure no child goes without three healthy meals a day 365 days a year. 

Besides Texas, members of the cohort also come from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and South Carolina

About No Kid Hungry No child should go hungry in America. But millions of kids in the United States live with hunger. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty.

About McAllen ISD McAllen ISD is a three-time winner of the state’s highest rating, an “A,” and a four-time winner of the state’s Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction. In 2022, McAllen ISD was named the Best Large District in Texas through the H-E-B Excellence in Education awards. The district is home to 30 campuses and approximately 20,500 students.