No child should go hungry, but 1 in 4 kids in LA County might not know where their next meal will come from. The Food Bank’s After-School Meal program makes a difference for low-income families whose children rely on school meals.
Kids can’t be kids when they’re hungry. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank knows that kids do better in school when their tummies are full and when they can count on having access to nutritious meals. The After School Meals program is a huge help for low-income families who sometimes work late and can’t provide a meal right after school.
Cleyder, a father of four, has a child who is enrolled in the program. “We learned about the after-school [meal] program because the school sent a flyer,” he explains. “When we came to the school, they told us more about the program and from there we decided to sign her up. She does not come home hungry when she participates in the program. My daughter says she really likes the food.”
Kids today are bombarded with ads, social posts and a variety of multimedia messages promoting the consumption of fast food, processed snacks and other things that do not promote early healthy development or their overall wellbeing. That, in combination with the fact that these foods are often less expensive and easier to prepare than fresh, nutritious food means some parents may have a difficult time supporting healthy eating habits for their whole family.
The After School Meals program provides meals that are kid friendly but also rich in fiber, protein, calcium and other nutrients kids need to grow big and strong. Not only is healthy eating necessary for a child’s physical health and development, it can also have a profound impact on a child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
Children with healthy diets also tend to do better in school. “Her teacher has told me that she is doing very well in school and is very advanced,” says Cleyder.
“The truth is, I am very grateful for the programs they offer and the communities they serve,” Cleyder says. “I do not know your names. Otherwise, I would mention you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”