Merrimack Valley YMCA Partners with the Walmart Foundation to Address Child Hunger Through Afterschool Programs
Merrimack Valley YMCA joins national effort to serve 3 million healthy meals and snacks throughout the school year.
Lawrence, MA; January 31st, 2013 – The Merrimack Valley YMCA is increasing efforts to serve healthy snacks in its afterschool program, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. The Merrimack Valley YMCA’s goal is to serve over 3,000 snacks each month to school age program participants throughout the 2012-2013 school year.
Nearly 50 million Americans, including more than 16 million children and teens under age 18, live with food insecurity, according to the USDA. High poverty rates, significant unemployment and rising gas prices are all contributing to the difficulty many families have in putting food on the table. Through its afterschool program, and additional funding from the Walmart Foundation, the Y will serve more children through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which feeds school-aged children during the week, on weekends and during school vacations. Nationally, more than 175 Ys will supplement their learning enrichment programs with a food component, funded through CACFP, to their afterschool programs and aim to serve 3 million meals and snacks.
“Some students, particularly those who receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch, may not know where their next meal will come from when the school day ends,” said Anne Whalen, Executive Director. “At the Merrimack Valley YMCA, we are committed to keeping kids nourished all year long. Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, our Y will be able to do more to address this issue.”
Combining play with academics, YMCA afterschool programs promote creativity, a love for learning, social and emotional development and character building, while complementing lessons learned during the school day. The Merrimack Valley YMCA school age child care program provides children with access to quality programming five days a week from 2:30 and 6:00 pm during the school year. Full day programs are also available during school vacations and in the summer. Committed to promoting positive values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility, the school age program at the Merrimack Valley YMCA provides a safe environment where children can learn new skills, make new friends, and build their self-confidence.
As a leading nonprofit committed to healthy living, while feeding more children, the Y is also working to improve the nutritional value of all meals and snacks served in early child care and afterschool settings. The Merrimack Valley YMCA has committed to standards to ensure children eat healthy foods and get adequate amounts of physical activity.
To learn more, contact the Merrimack Valley YMCA at 978-725-6681 or visit www.mvymca.org.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net