Nourishing Youth After School
The Y is committed to providing an afterschool program that helps kids eat nutritious meals, stay challenged intellectually and enjoy physical activity.
Nearly 50 million Americans, including more than 16 million children and teens younger than 18, live with food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). High poverty rates, significant unemployment and rising gas prices all contribute to the difficulty many families have in putting food on the table.
Over 31 million children from low-income families receive free or reduced-cost meals every school day, but when the school day ends many of these children don’t know where their next meal will come from.(1)
The Y is addressing hunger in communities by ensuring children have access to meals during out-of-school time, when they’re most at risk of going hungry. Thanks to our partnership with the Walmart Foundation, we will increase the number of YMCA afterschool programs that provide healthy meals and snacks through the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP) Afterschool Meal Program. CACFP’s Afterschool Meal Program provides reimbursement for school-aged children after school, on weekends and during school vacations.
As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y is committed to keeping children nourished all year long. YMCA afterschool programs will provide learning enrichment and physical activities to keep minds and bodies active, while also serving healthy food. More than 175 Ys nationwide that participate in CACFP have received grants to expand their afterschool programs throughout the 2012-2013 school year. Our goal is to serve 3 million meals and snacks to children in need.
1“National School Lunch Program,” http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf
Working together can have the greatest impact in alleviating child hunger. Here are three simple things anyone can do to alleviate child hunger in their own communities:
1. Put excess to good use
Having extra can help feed those with less. On the next few visits to the grocery store, if possible, buy one or two extra non-perishable food items. Items like pastas, canned tuna and dried beans can be donated to those in need. At the end of the month, gather those items and donate them to the nearest food bank, homeless shelter or church outreach program. Families can likely find even more opportunity to donate by cleaning out their pantries seasonally.
2. Make it a group effort
There is strength in numbers – and the power to make a difference. Join others who share a cause for fighting hunger by volunteering at a soup kitchen (unpacking boxes, cooking or serving food), participating in a community food drive for a food bank, or working with a church’s community outreach. Assemble a team of co-workers, neighbors or friends to join the effort.
3. Become an advocate
Spreading the word about a program or organization that truly makes a difference can help expand its reach. Further support the efforts of organizations like the Y by reaching out to those in need and letting them know the programs exist.
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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.