CACFP Success Story
Addison Youth Center: Addison, New York
Addison Youth Center has been involved with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for six years. The center sponsors four different program sites; three programs serve afterschool meals and one serves snacks. Executive Director Emily Hofelich-Bowler describes her decision to enroll as a “no-brainer” saying, “[CACFP] provides nutrition to our sites in a high-poverty area. We need to feed kids. Most of the kids arrive hungry, which doesn’t enable them to learn. Providing healthy food helps the kids to stay active and focused.”
Hofelich-Bowler says buy-in from kids can be essential for a successful program; she explains, “Make sure you ask the students for their input as this program was made for them. […] Have the kids design the menu and create their own meals. [Our kids] enjoy having breakfast for lunch, so we gave them an opportunity to make omelets and pick healthy ingredients to add to their eggs. It provides a learning experience for them to make healthy food choices. In addition, it’s a bonding experience for students and the program staff.”
She also acknowledges the value of communication with state agency representatives and community partners. “Talk to [the CACFP] nutritionists as the federal and state programs can be challenging to navigate. You want to make sure you are doing CACFP right the first time. Communication is key…don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Hofelich-Bowler advises all eligible afterschool and child-care providers to participate in CACFP, saying, “It’s a great program with a great opportunity. It allows kids to eat healthy [and] it allows you to feed them at a lower cost as food and expenses increase.”
For more information about CACFP and to access additional resources including webinars, a meal-planning template, and a sample menu, visit our website: https://networkforyouthsuccess.org/child-nutrition/ and AfterschoolMealsNY.org.