Afterschool program to feed children healthy meals

Published 7:49 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

Some area children can look forward to a healthy meal and snack each day after school thanks to a new program partnership.

“We know some kids may go home to limited food or unhealthy food options,” said Donyell Jones, executive vice president of the Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain. “We’re trying to fight the child obesity epidemic in our communities and provide something healthy and nutritious each and every night.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain recently began participating in the USDA-funded Child and Adult Care Food Program, which helps child and adult care institutions, family and group day care homes provide nutritious foods to its clients to increase wellness and health in children, older adults and chronically impaired people, according to the USDA website.

Through the program, more than 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks each day as part of the care they receive at institutions, the website reads.

Jones mindset behind the club’s partnership with the USDA-funded Child and Adult Care Food Program is to make sure all of its clients have access to a healthy meal each night. Meals will be provided by K&W Cafeteria, Mondays through Fridays, according to Jones.

Children attending the Boys & Girls Club will be given a free meal each evening at the club, as well as a healthy snack to take home, according to Jones. The program is an afterschool program so children at the club, most of whom receive reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day at school, will receive a third meal about nine months out of the year.

Since many Beaufort County communities experience food insecurity and lack access to healthy foods, conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, among others, are prevalent, according to Jones. Fifty percent or more of students in Beaufort County Schools receive reduced-price breakfast and lunch, Jones said.

“Because of that, our club automatically becomes an at-risk center, and they automatically get a meal,” Jones said. “We’re located in an area that serves kids who are really in need. We want to make sure our kids are getting healthy meals.”

Jones said not only will the participation help the children of families it serves, but it will also help those families save money to use elsewhere.

“We definitely want to thank the USDA for the opportunity because it’s at no cost to our kids or our organization,” Jones said. “We also want to thank K&W Cafeteria, who will be delivering the hot meals each day. We should see some changes, hopefully, in how our kids eat, and hopefully, it will encourage them to try new things they may have never tried before.”

For more information, visit