Fresh food distributed with local partners
Asheville, N.C., July 25, 2017 – Hundreds of local children have access to nutritious meals this summer thanks to a partnership between the YMCA of Western North Carolina, Green Opportunities and the Asheville City Schools Nutrition Department. The meals are made possible through participation in the federal Summer Food Service Program.
"We are very fortunate to have Green Opportunities preparing around 400 meals daily for YMCA camps and the My Community Matters Program at the Edington Center and Asheville City Schools preparing over 100 meals for local housing communities," said Rebecca Holmes, nutrition manager at the YMCA of WNC.
Distributions at Hillcrest Apartments, Pisgah View Apartments, Lee Walker Heights Apartments, and Crowell Park Apartments will occur until Aug. 18, and YMCA day camp participants will receive meals through Aug. 25.
In addition to nutritious meals, children are being treated to visits from the Asheville Fire Department, Asheville Tourists, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), and Green Works.
"I am grateful to the summer meals program because it provides a nutritious meal to kids who otherwise might not have one five days a week during the summer," said Lillian Butler, program coordinator at Hillcrest.
The program is rewarding to those preparing the meals, as well, says Janette Broda, school nutrition director for Asheville City Schools.
"What an honor it has been to prepare and make available fresh and nutritious meals for our Asheville community youth during these summer months," Broda said. "Their health and access to good quality food remains our top priority even during the summer time."
Gene Ettison, executive chef instructor at Green Opportunities, agrees with Broda’s assessment.
"The summer meals partnership provides a great financial opportunity for graduates of our Kitchen Ready training program, in terms of creating jobs for them, but it also allows them the chance to pay it forward and make a positive impact on the youth in our community," Ettison said. "Our graduates tell me that they love being able to use the skills they've learned to help out someone else."
The public is invited to Pour Taproom in Biltmore Village on Thursday, July 27 from 4-8 p.m. to show their support for the Y's efforts to feed the kids. During this event, a portion of all sales will be donated to the YMCA of WNC's nutrition outreach programs.
Learn more about the YMCA’s nutrition outreach at ymcawnc.org/nutritionprograms/outreach.