It’s National CACFP Week! What’s CACFP? CACFP stands for Child and Adult Care Food Program. It’s a program that’s federally-funded by the United States Department of Agriculture to provide healthy meals and snacks to qualified programs. Here in a Delaware, it’s administered by the Delaware Department of Education. The Food Bank of Delaware plays an active role in the program by sponsoring 63 after-school meal programs. This week we are highlighting after-school programs up and down the state!
Nestled up in a hill off I-495 in Claymont is Knollwood, a once steady middle-income neighborhood that provided housing for mill workers employed at Claymont Steel (most recently Evraz Steel). Manufacturing at the steel plant officially came to a halt in 2013 and since then, the property has laid vacant.
The shuttered steel business has impacted the surrounding community.
The Knollwood Civic Association has been working to improve the condition of the neighborhood by hosting programming out of its Community Center and before the housing market crash, the neighborhood worked with the State of Delaware, New Castle County Government and local financial institutions to buy and rehabilitate homes in the neighborhood for first-time home buyers.
Shirley Ibrahimovic has run the New Knollwood Community Center for 17 years, and, over the years, she has seen firsthand the increase in demand for services.
Through its partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware, New Knollwood receives free after-school meals each school day thanks to the CACFP.
“We have had lots of kids over the years that have come through. Some of them are really in need,” she explains. “This may be, besides their school meal, the only meal they get at dinner. So for some kids it really does matter.”
Many neighborhood kids head straight for the Community Center after getting off the bus. Homework help, tutoring, enrichment activities, dinner and more are offered.
Meals are delivered each week day by the Food Bank driver. Roast beef and cheese, fruit, vegetables, egg salad, peanut butter and jelly, and milk are just some of the items kids can expect to receive.
On the menu when the Food Bank visited: ham and cheese, chocolate milk, celery and oranges.
In addition to free meals during the school year, New Knollwood also participates in the free summer meal program and hosts Food Bank Community Nutrition Educators throughout the year.
During our recent visit, Kirsten Kelley, the Food Bank’s Community Nutrition Educator, was conducting a Kid C.H.E.F. (Cooking Healthy Easy Foods) program. Every Tuesday for five weeks she focused on a different food group of the MyPlate. This particular session focused on vegetables, and the kids made veggie wraps with hummus.
Each participant received their very own apron, chef’s hat, measuring cups, utensils and an activity book. Table by table, kids lined up to form a veggie wrap assembly line. First, a whole-wheat tortilla followed by a tablespoon of hummus. The little chefs spread the hummus on the wrap and then added a tablespoon of black beans, carrots, a quarter cup of lettuce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. With help from Kirsten they wrapped the tortilla, and voila – a healthy, easy, kid-friendly meal!
For the most part, the new recipe was met with thumbs up from the little chefs!