CACFP Success Story
North Rockland YMCA Nyack, NY
North Rockland YMCA is a longtime sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), providing healthy snacks to youth in seven afterschool programs in five schools.
CACFP has been a valuable resource for the YMCA and the youth they serve; the meal pattern guidelines ensure all of the afterschool sites are serving nutritious snacks, and the reimbursement funding helps offset the cost of healthy foods, allowing the programs to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Coordinating food service across multiple program locations is a team effort. Program Director Juliet Allen provides monthly sample menus to site directors, who then purchase and prepare snacks for their programs. YMCA business office staff manage funds, allotting a set amount to each site director for their food costs, then Allen and her colleagues collect receipts, snack counts, and other documentation required for CACFP. Allen says, “We are a well-oiled machine and one part would not be able to work without the other!”
Allen appreciates that CACFP’s meal pattern guidelines allow flexibility to accommodate allergies and other considerations while maintaining consistent standards for all program sites. YMCA staff often brainstorm new snack menu ideas, incorporating options that allow kids to be involved in meal preparation, and items that reflect a range of cultures. Allen explains, “We’ve been trying to survey the families regarding holidays and traditions. We’d like to implement more of this into our food choices so that the children truly feel a sense of security and community at the YMCA.” Allen also appreciates the site visits from CACFP staff, saying, “The coordinators have observed our programs and provided tools or suggestions to help make our programs better. Who wouldn’t want that?”
She encourages other afterschool programs to enroll in CACFP as “it is a great benefit for your program’s staff and children.”
To learn more about CACFP, visit AfterschoolMealsNY.org.