NEW CHILD NUTRITION RESOURCES
When resources are tight, it is Colorado’s most vulnerable residents who suffer. Ensuring that all children in Colorado have access to adequate, nutritional food is a top priority of Hunger Free Colorado, as evidenced by our key initiatives and strategic partnerships.
Follow the quick links below to learn more about each Childhood Nutrition Program:
- No Kid Hungry: The Five Year Plan
- School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
- The Summer Nutrition Program
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
When kids go to school hungry, they struggle to focus and retain information because their bodies are undernourished. When hunger causes a student to fall behind academically at an early age, it takes significant resources and effort to get that student back on track.
Programs already are in place to address this need, but they are drastically underutilized. By increasing the number of Colorado kids who eat breakfast and/or lunch at school, we not only meet our children’s needs, but we also make a smart investment in Colorado’s future workforce.
- The School Breakfast Program is a federal nutrition program that provides reimbursement to schools that serve breakfast to students who qualify. Studies show that the School Breakfast Program is associated with higher test scores, fewer behavioral or health problems and better school attendance1. Unfortunately, nearly 13 percent of schools in Colorado that participate in the National School Lunch Program do not offer breakfast – ranking Colorado 45th in the nation for participation in the breakfast program. But Hunger Free Colorado is working to change that: In 2011, we will help 15,000 more children access the breakfast program (when compared to the 2010 numbers). Visit Breakfast Challenge 2011-2012 for additional information, materials, and tools!
- The National School Lunch Program: As Colorado’s schools focus on boosting academic success, the role of student health is increasingly in the spotlight. For many children, eating a healthy lunch at school is essential because they simply cannot get the nutritious foods their bodies need at home in this challenging economic environment. Through the National School Lunch Program, students can receive meals for no cost, at a reduced cost, or purchase a full-price meal, depending on their family’s income. Hunger Free Colorado is working to increase the impact of this program by helping schools identify and register students who qualify.
The Summer Nutrition Program
What happens to kids who receive free or reduced-price lunches at school once the school year has ended? How do they get the nutrition they need to continue to develop strong bodies and brains?
The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded nutrition program designed to fill the gap when school is out. Unfortunately, Colorado has one of the lowest rankings in the nation for participation in this program. In 2009, the Summer Food Service Program in Colorado served 767,800 meals, reaching an average of 6.9 percent of eligible kids. The low rate of participation was attributed to a lack of awareness about the program and an insufficient number of meal sites around Colorado.
In 2010, Colorado prioritized raising awareness about the summer food program. As a critical partner with the state, Hunger Free Colorado raised money and executed a public awareness campaign about this program. The result? The number of meals spiked dramatically by 26 percent to more than 970,000 delivered through 300 community sites across Colorado.
- Read a story about summer food for Colorado kids: “Colorado summer lunch program pushing to feed more needy kids” – The Denver Post
- Interested in finding out more? Visit SummerFoodColorado.org to discover how to be involved!
- Learn more about the efforts and impact of the Summer Food Service Program from our Summer Nutrition Reports for 2011 and 2010. Prepared by Hunger Free Colorado, June 2011
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Good nutrition is as essential for pregnant and postpartum women as it is for children. Lack of nutrition among pregnant women and infants can result in long-term health and developmental problems for children including birth defects, stunted growth and failure to thrive.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a federally funded program that provides good food, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to pregnant, to women and their children, along with health and social services referrals. A WIC check can be redeemed at a local grocery store for “WIC-approved” nutrient-rich foods.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritious meals and snacks to participants in child care facilities. Licensed child care centers may qualify for CACFP benefits if the center is not-for-profit or if it is for-profit and serves low-income families. Through the program, child care providers can be reimbursed for the meals and snacks they serve to children if the meals meet federal nutrition requirements.
Colorado has faced declining participation rates in this program over the last 10 years. Through No Kid Hungry Colorado, Hunger Free Colorado, and its partners are working to inform every licensed childcare provider in Colorado about the benefits of CACFP by 2015.
1 – Meyers A, Sampson AE, Weitzman M, Rogers BL, Kayne H. “School Breakfast Program and School Performance.” American Journal of Diseases of Children. 1989; 143: 1,234-39.)