Why health and nutrition is important for our youth.
Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is a problem that threatens the critical foundation. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16.7 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.
The Jacksonville Children’s Commission is committed to growing great kids by providing better access to nutritious meals. Each school year, the Commission partners with the USDA through the Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to provide snacks, lunches and supper meals to children in afterschool and summer programs. These programs are able to provide more than 20,200 Jacksonville children with nearly 1.5 million snacks, lunches and supper meals, each year.
How can Commission funded programs help you and your child?
By participating in a food program the parent demonstrates that eating healthy is important. The parent and child are also being provided advice on nutrition while utilizing academic and recreational time. When children eat healthy they are able to focus more academically and enhance performance in sports and other activities.
Afterschool Nutrition Program
The Jacksonville Children’s Commission is the local sponsor of the USDA’s Afterschool Nutrition Program which serves nutritious snacks and supper meals for participants in 59 afterschool programs, including TEAM UP, community-based and special needs sites. The Commission employs a dietitian to assist in creating the menu for meals. The Commission plays an additional role in addressing and supporting healthy behaviors by educating and providing students the opportunity to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.
During the 2012-2013 school year the program expanded to 59 sites and served more than 9,000 children 379,924 snacks and 639,534 suppers. To qualify as a site through the Child Care Food program, 50 percent of the children at the area school must be on Free or Reduced Lunch.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides funds to the Jacksonville Children’s Commission summer programs to serve nutritious meals to low-income children when school is out. In summer 2013, the Commission served 207,856 snacks and 249,252 lunches at 185 sites, including apartment complexes, churches, early education centers, non-public schools, public libraries, hospitals, city parks, community centers and summer camps around Jacksonville.
To become a registered Summer Break Spot site, complete and send your application to:
1095 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.
Jacksonville, Florida 32206
For more information on the Summer Food Service Program click here or contact the Nutrition Services Manager at (904) 630-6430