Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region

CACFP Success Story

Girls Inc. Albany, NY



Prior to enrolling in CACFP, the Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region’s afterschool program located in Albany relied on donations and a very small budget to use at their local food bank to provide snacks to their participants. Due to the limited resources, there were days when snacks weren’t able to be provided, and most snacks given weren’t healthy. Since enrolling in CACFP, the program is now able to provide healthy snacks to their students each day they attend. They work with a vendor to acquire most of their snacks and supplement the vendor’s options with perishable items purchased from a local grocery store. The site is responsible for cutting and measuring food, so to keep snack preparation as easy as possible, most of the snacks provided are served cold. Their participants love the healthy options, such as fresh fruit, yogurt with granola and fruit, whole grain rich muffins, and assorted crackers.

Girls Inc.’s advice to afterschool and child care providers interested in enrolling in CACFP is to attend the informative trainings offered by the New York State Department of Health to learn more about CACFP administration. Once enrolled, they recommend the menu be diversified to keep the children in favor of the snacks. Girls Inc. Director of Site Based Programs, Diana Suits, encourages afterschool and child care providers to enroll for CACFP, as “it allows you to provide food for your [members] that is healthy and consistent.”

City of Olean Youth & Recreation Department

CACFP Success Story

City of Olean Youth & Recreation Department: Cattaraugus, New York


The City of Olean Youth & Recreation Department runs their afterschool program at the former St. John’s Catholic Elementary School. Along with the afterschool program, they host a youth basketball league for fourth to sixth graders and special events, such as holiday parties, recreation contests, and clinics. Twenty students attend the afterschool program daily, and the youth basketball league averages from eighty to one hundred kids each year.

The City of Olean Youth & Recreation has been participating in CACFP since 2009. They got involved with CACFP thanks to their local state Senator, Cathy Young, and their local youth bureau. Before enrolling in CACFP, the afterschool program didn’t offer snacks to their students. However, now as Youth and Recreation Coordinator, Kris Shewairy, states “CACFP has allowed our program to become more comprehensive with a healthy snack given along with physical activity.”

The snacks provided to the students are purchased from a local BJ’s Wholesale Club. The site manager and Shewairy make monthly shopping visits to get snacks, which typically consist of fruits, milk, pretzels, whole grain rich bagels, and crackers. The site manager is responsible for organizing, storing, and setting up the snacks. The afterschool program has a refrigerator and a freezer for storing cold items before the snacks are prepared in the old school cafeteria.

Kris Shewairy urges afterschool programs to enroll in CACFP as “many of the kids are hungry and have not eaten anything since lunch.” For many eligible sites, like the City of Olean Youth & Recreation program, CACFP provides a chance to serve healthy snacks for kids to enjoy after lunch.

Hudson River Museum of Westchester

CACFP Success Story

Hudson River Museum: Yonkers, NY


The Junior Docent Program at Hudson River Museum trains Yonkers high school students to become leaders, thinkers, professionals, and contributing members of the Yonkers community. The program aims to enhance students’ appreciation of art and culture, while enabling them to practice professional skills and work toward becoming museum employees. Nearly eighty high school students participate in the program, representing every high school in Yonkers. Junior Docents meet once a week, after school or on weekends, learning from curators, artists, scientists, historians, and other experts to further leadership and college readiness skills. To nourish students and ensure they are ready to learn, the program also includes a healthy snack, supported by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Manager of Youth and Family Programs, Araya Henry enrolled in CACFP because the reimbursement funding helps offset the cost of healthy menu options; she explains, “The financial support [enables us] to provide nutritious snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and whole grains that would otherwise be expensive and out of our budget.” Before participating in CACFP, the program served snacks that were less expensive and sometimes high in sugar and fat. Now, with CACFP reimbursements, healthier options are within reach. Henry explains, “In our afterschool program, we promote exposure to healthy snack choices, introduce unfamiliar foods to participants, and provide nutritious options that are beneficial to mental and physical health.” Because CACFP reimburses for meals and snacks served on weekends, too, the benefits of nutritious snacks extend to their Saturday and Sunday sessions as well.

Hudson River Museum purchases their snacks through wholesale distributors. They use cycle menus, which they have found to be the most successful planning method for their program; cycle menus include different snack options each day, then are repeated after a certain period of time, often monthly. Henry explains, “[Using cycle menus] saves time and money, and allows us to offer a variety of menu selections, control food costs, keep track of regularly used snack items, and take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables.”

Henry speaks highly of the resources and support available through NYS CACFP, saying “CACFP has been very accommodating to us, and their guidelines are clear. They are also extremely responsive and the relationship has been wonderful thus far.” She strongly encourages other afterschool and childcare providers to enroll: “CACFP would enable your program to be able to provide nutritional food options to your students which may otherwise be too expensive to purchase on a regular basis. Exposing students to nutritional foods will give them the life skill and practice to recognize the benefits of making healthy food choices, [and] will support your students’ well-being, boost their self-esteem, and promote a positive body image. We’ve seen these improvements in our program, and hope you will too!”

Plan a visit to the Hudson River Museum by visiting their website for more information:

For more information about CACFP and to access additional resources including webinars, a meal-planning template, and a sample menu, visit our website: and

Addison Youth Center

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: and

North Rockland YMCA

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

Police Athletic League (PAL) Duncan Center Site NYC

Police Athletic League (PAL) New York, NY


New York City’s Police Athletic League (PAL) serves healthy meals and snacks to kids and teens in more than a dozen afterschool and childcare programs throughout the city. PAL is a non-profit organization that works closely with New York City Police Department and the law enforcement community to support and inspire youth to realize their full potential. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays an integral role in the success of their programs; Site Director Madeline Esquivel explains, “[CACFP] helps the kids stay focused, improves mood and behavior, and in addition, it benefits their growth and development.”

PAL works with the food vendor Two Steps Down to procure nutritious meals for their programs. Once the food is delivered, PAL staff ensure it is stored and served properly and manage attendance, meal counts, and other administrative tasks required for CACFP. The program uses cycle menus to plan their meal service, modifying the menus seasonally with an eye toward variety. Esquivel appreciates the opportunity to support healthy eating habits and encourage kids to try new foods. She advises, “Make sure the kids are exposed to the food on a constant basis for them to see, taste, and feel until they are comfortable eating it, offer options, and have patience for the picky eaters.”

PAL also participates in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to nourish kids year-round. Manager of Food Services Angela Guarino encourages other organizations to learn more about these programs and to consider participating in both. “[Sponsoring CACFP and SFSP] has been very beneficial for our programs and allows us to provide nutritious foods to participants in the community.”

To learn more about CACFP and summer meals, visit and

Afterschool Stories

Lower Eastside Girls Club

CACFP Success Story
Lower Eastside Girls Club | New York, New York

At Lower Eastside Girls Club, healthy meals and snacks are an integral part of afterschool enrichment programming. Development Associate Lauren Dapena notes, “When [the girls] come here after school, they are usually ravenous.” CACFP enables the program to address the kids’ nutritional needs so they are ready to focus and engage.

A typical Girls Club afterschool supper consists of a healthy plant-based meal, milk, and fruit and nuts for dessert. Staff prepare all meals and snacks on site, sourcing ingredients daily from local supermarkets and, seasonally, from their rooftop garden. Dapena explains, “The girls are involved in this process; they help plant and learn how to care for the garden. It is a fantastic hands-on experience that gets them more interested in exploring different foods.” Every Tuesday, the Girls Club offers a family-style meal where students and staff gather together for dinner. Dapena says, “We have special paper menus that include the food they are eating that day, interesting nutrition trivia, and fun questions for them to ask each other. […] Here they learn that meals are a time to both enjoy delicious food and connect with other people. We also have a nurse give a presentation on nutrition so the girls learn how food relates to their health and wellbeing.”

Girls Club members have responded positively to the healthy meals and snacks. Culinary Instructor Nancy Rosario says, “The girls are actually trying the stuff!” According to Rosario, though instilling healthy habits may be a slow and steady process, they have seen positive outcomes. “It has been difficult for us to compete with local bodegas and street vendors that sell food filled with fat, salt, and sugar; [however], we are well aware that these changes are gradual. We have seen girls completely revamp their diet after being here, especially as they got older.” Rosario notes that some Girls Club members may not have access to enough nutritious food at home; she says, “For some, this is their dinner and the only time they eat healthy.”

Rosario encourages other afterschool programs to enroll in CACFP. “It gives you a chance to expand your options for the kids. […] The whole point of what we do is what CACFP does: teaching kids how to eat well.”

To learn more about serving afterschool meals through CACFP, visit

Statement on Proposed Elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers in President Trump’s Budget

Statement from the New York State Network for Youth Success:

“Making America Great starts with extending a hand to those in need, not pulling the rug out from under them.

The President’s budget proposal to eliminate 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is a slap in the face to the very people he vowed to help when he was elected. Tens of thousands of working families rely on these programs. Cutting these programs will be a devastating blow to families who rely on afterschool and summer programs to maintain stable employment and to ensure that their children have a safe, supervised place to go after school. In New York alone, this will put 55,000 school age youth out on the street with nowhere to go after school, leaving their parents with impossible choices about how to care for their children on already razor thin household budgets.”


A few stats that show the support and benefits these programs provide:

  • Students who participated in programs supported by ExpandED Schools  in New York (formerly TASC) had greater gains in school attendance than students who did not participate and these gains were particularly strong for the crucial middle and high school years.
  • Every $1  invested in afterschool programs saves $9 through:
    • Increasing young people’s earning potential
    • Improving young people’s performance at school
    • Reducing crime and welfare costs
  • Nationally, students who regularly participate in 21st Century Community Learning Centers improved their school attendance, class participation and behavior, homework completion, and reading and math achievement scores and grades.
  • Eighty-one members of Congress (including 11 from New York) signed a bipartisan letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging them not to cut afterschool funding.
  • A Quinnipiac national poll that was conducted after the President’s “skinny budget” was released found that 83 percent of voters oppose cutting funding for afterschool and summer programs, with just 14 supporting the administration’s position.