Thanks to a partnership that was first conceived of by United Way of Treasure Valley, we’ve been able to work alongside a local after-school program for the past 10 years to provide healthy food to low income children, many of whom are food insecure. The after-school program has both an Ada county and Canyon county location.
This partnership began with the Ada location providing the Canyon location with free healthy snacks each day after school.
In 2017, the partnership greatly expanded when the Ada location began providing the Canyon location youth with a supper every day after school, full of yummy and nutritious components.
Then, in 2018 the partnership was expanded even further when the Ada location started providing the Canyon location summer meals and snacks.
The reception of these new services by the kids has been incredible! According to the Canyon county location staff, the meals have greatly helped with behavior problems.
“Bad behavior in children has a variety of causes, although dietary factors may play a larger role than traditionally thought. In addition to food allergies and negative reactions to food additives, blood sugar levels can have a dramatic impact on mood and behavior. Low blood sugar can be caused by not eating enough food or eating too much sugar at a time, which triggers inappropriate insulin secretion from the pancreas gland.” (source)
In a nutshell: when kids are hungry they are more likely to act out. The meals also helped attract and retain the teen members who now show up to the program more consistently.
In addition, the program provides all staff members with free meals and snacks as well. This "perk" of being a staff member creates a culture where the staff feels appreciated and cared for!