Camper eating lunch at YMCA Discovery Camp
The YMCA of Western North Carolina is ensuring local children have access to healthy food during summer break through its participation in the federal Summer Food Service Program. Children at select day camps and participants in the Y’s summer learning loss prevention program receive free breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Funding for the program comes from the federal government, a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation, and donations to the YMCA of Western North Carolina’s Annual Campaign.
Over 350 meals and snacks are prepared each day by a YMCA kitchen team working out of Ira B. Jones Elementary School in Asheville. The delicious and nutrionally balanced fresh meals are then distributed to camp locations for the children to enjoy on-site. Sample menu items include a whole wheat english muffin with cream cheese with a serving of fruit for breakfast and a lunch consisting of a black bean and corn wrap with salsa, served with pineapple. No sugary sodas here—children are given milk or water to drink with each meal.
“Food insecurity is a serious problem in our community—18% of families statewide struggle to afford fresh, nutritious food. But good nutrition is crucial to children’s health and development. This program helps cover the gap created when children leave school for the summer and lose access to free and reduced-price lunches, and gives parents and guardians the peace of mind that their children are getting the healthy food they need to grow and thrive,” said Paul P. Vest, president and CEO of the YMCA of Western North Carolina.