Research shows that well-nourished children are healthier, more attentive, and have better mental performance than children who are under-nourished.
In Palm Beach County and in the City of West Palm Beach, many children only receive one balanced meal a day, qualifying for free and reduced lunch in our schools. The State of Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture administers this reimbursement childcare food program for childcare providers.
The City’s after school program asked the commission for the ability to provide a snack and when appropriate an evening meal to children in their programs. In a unanimous vote the commissioners of the City of West Palm Beach decided to allocate $200,000 for snacks and meals served, food program administration and supplies. The money will be reimbursed through The Childcare Food Program.
“I’m happy that we were able to work with the State to make these snacks and dinners available to underprivileged children in our neighborhood,” Commissioner Materio, whose district includes the South Olive community center, commented. “It’s been proven that nutrition and education go hand in hand. It’s the responsibly of everyone to make sure that less fortunate kids have proper nutrition. These summer programs provide great learning experiences as well and are a big benefit for the whole community.”
This program will initially be rolled out to South Olive and Gaines Park community centers, but will later provide snacks/meals to the Youth Empowerment Center, Coleman Park Community Center and Howard Park Community Center.
Apart from the locations above, the Child Care food program lists the following locations as also being CCFP providers.
When reporting this story in an evening news broadcast, CBS12 chose to focus on the wording of the item on the consent agenda and spin it into a story about government spending. According to the city it was explained to them that each meal would cost approximately $2, however they chose to go with their story that the city is paying $44 per snack. This is a ridiculous and I look forward to seeing CBS update their story with the actual numbers and the data on the difference this program is having in the lives of underprivileged children in our neighborhoods.