Last Thursday our Kids Cafes began the first phase of a significant nutritional transformation. Full five component meals will now be offered daily to at-risk children in afterschool centers located in low income areas.
Prior to our approval on October 2nd, subsidies from the Child Care Food Program, overseen by the Florida Department of Health, would only partially cover the cost of small snacks. The new program, called the Afterschool Meal Program, or AMP, taps increased USDA funding to help sponsors such as Second Harvest Food Bank enhance and sustain new and existing sites.
The first batch of meals was delivered to four Kids Cafes in two counties; Children at Restore Hope Orlando, Taft Boys & Girls Club, Oak Street Community Center and Chambers Park Community Center were treated to Bologna and Cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread, celery sticks, low fat fresh milk, and cinnamon apples slices for dessert.
Next Tuesday the menu calls for roast chicken breast, bread, salad and peaches. More importantly, fresh milk will now be served every single day.
Low income families on tight budgets sometimes find it necessary to limit food spending. When this happens, portions are reduced and meals skipped. Last year our 13 Kids Cafes served 215,000 meals to approximately 1,400 children every day while school was in session.
Since 2002, the program has served over 1.5 million meals. The new program quadruples our capacity to sustain these sites. The ultimate beneficiaries are the children.
In the next couple of weeks we look forward to phasing in our remaining sites as well as to the addition of Kissimmee’s Lakeside Community Center and Sanford’s West Side Community Center. Special thanks to Florida Impact, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Agriculture and The Florida Partnership to End Childhood Hunger for their efforts in helping implement provisions of the Federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act which expanded the program from 13 states to the entire nation.
The act, signed into law in December of 2010, has made the most significant changes to school lunch, breakfast, child care, and afterschool feeding programs in more than 30 years.
Childhood Hunger Programs Manager