After-school snacks: Important piece of student nutrition

March 14, 2017

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 meals to 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!

At the end of a busy day, kids need after-school care until there’s an adult at home.

The Central Delaware YMCA provides after-school programming for about 110 children until 6 p.m. every day at four schools in Dover: South Dover, North Dover, Fairview and William Henry.

On a recent afternoon, the Y’s Child Development Director Ayesha Jamison patiently guides the active youngsters into positive interaction with each other in South Dover Elementary cafeteria.

These children are in grades 2-4, while children in kindergarten and first grade are in another room.

After completing homework, the children line up to go wash their hands before they enjoy a snack provided by the Food Bank of Delaware. The Y has partnered with the Food Bank in this program for 2.5 years.

The meal served at the YMCA sites is part of the Food Bank’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, or CACFP.

But first things first!

Symone, the site coordinator, leads the kids through a choreographed, syncopated clapping routine to get their attention, and then she selects the quietest table to go first for hand washing.

When she asks for volunteers, about half the children raise their hands, eager to be chosen to put on gloves to set up the meal.

Ayesha said the children enjoy “pretty much everything,” but this year’s favorites are the new fruit containers and the bagels.

Today’s menu included juice and chocolate milk, a salad (complete with a protein and salad dressing), and graham crackers.

Ayesha reminds the kids to take one of everything, and what they don’t want returns to the “share” table which means those who want more can take another beverage or salad.

To learn more about the After-School Meal Program, please click here.

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