Healthy Meals Program

Overview

Healthy Meals Program

United Way’s Healthy Meals is working to dramatically increase the number of well-balanced nutritious (and FREE) meals that local children eat to give them the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow. 

In the capital region, one in five children does not have enough food. Federal programs exist to help kids, but many nonprofits and schools lack staff or technical support to make these programs happen in their communities. We’re filling those gaps to ensure every child has access to nutritious meals, even during the summer months when they are out of school. In fact, only 19% of youth in our area who participated in the school lunch program received a meal during the summer months. We’re working to increase that number in the Sacramento region. 

Since Healthy Meals launched in 2014, we have served more than 435,194 healthy meals in after-school programs and during the summer months. We currently serve more than 1,200 healthy meals per day in after-school programs in Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties.

Your financial support ensures that programs like Healthy Meals continue to grow and help more kids and families in our region. Give today.

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Summer Associates 2017

United Way AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates Help Alleviate Summer Learning Loss and Food Insecurity
Highlighting our AmeriCorps VISTAs

According to the California Department of Education, summer programs are crucial to prevent learning loss and food insecurity, especially for many children from low-income families. For this reason, United Way California Capital Region deployed AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates to various summer programs, especially those with a focus on education and nutrition.

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Free Summer Meals
When school is out for summer, healthy (FREE) summer meals are here

United Way’s Healthy Meals program serves nutritious and delicious lunches and snacks to children and teens 18 years and younger. 

All meals are made with high-quality ingredients, minimally processed and are filled with nutrients!

Our summer meals program kicks off on June 1st! Check out United Way’s summer meal sites listed below. 

Fuel up for summer with United Way!

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‘You Art What You Eat’ drawing contest
Students at Healthy Meals sites show off drawing skills

A healthy support system is critical for children to succeed in school. Our Healthy Meals program provides children with free, nutritious meals so they can stay on track. But, leading a healthy lifestyle goes well beyond what you eat. The children that receive food through our Healthy Meals program are learning to create healthy habits through nutrition education and enrichment activities.

Square One Project Stephanie McLemore Bray

Food for Thought
Showcasing the importance of nutritious meals and engagement during summer

When I was a child, every weekday at noon during the summer, a truck would lumber down the street where I lived and many of my friends would run behind it until it stopped at the end of the block. My friends would come back up the street with a tray that had a sandwich, a small container of apple juice or milk, and a piece of fruit or a fruit cup. For many, it was the only meal they would have that day. I was fortunate: I did not know what food insecurity was. It saddens me to know that after all these many years, there are far too many children who are food insecure.

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Students help craft Healthy Meals menu

Good health is critical for children to stay in and succeed in school. Our Healthy Meals program works to ensure every child has access to nutritious meals so they can focus on learning.

As we looked to make menu updates, we figured we might as well go right to the source – the kids – and have them help Davis Joint Unified School District decide what goes on our Healthy Meals menus. Over the last month, we’ve been working with various sites to have the kids do taste testing.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s an inside look into the tastings:

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Healthy Meals Program Receives Grant from Walmart Foundation

To effectively address hunger and create lifelong healthy habits, nutrition education and enrichment activities that will support healthy eating and active living are critical. Funding from the Walmart Foundation will help enhance the Healthy Meals Program by supporting nutrition education and cooking skills enrichment activities at program sites.

Nutrition education will be offered to youth at our meals sites and to their parents and families to support positive change for the entire family. Opportunities will be provided for youth to participate in garden-based cooking education activities that will allow youth to participate in lessons about seasonality, harvest, and how to prepare, store, and cook fresh fruits and vegetables.

Thank you to the Walmart Foundation for your generous support of the Healthy Meals Program!

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Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative

In early 2016, the Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative was formed to bring together the region’s Summer Food Service Program Sponsors and community advocates to collaborate on ways to increase the involvement of youth in summer programs, raise awareness about summer meals and community feeding/meal sites, develop and implement a region-wide outreach and marketing plan, and provide sites and sponsors with a best practices toolkit including topics ranging from meal ordering to improved summer programming.

We encourage anyone interested in addressing childhood hunger during the summer to join our collaborative. Our next meeting is Thursday, April 27th from 10 am – 12 pm at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. To learn more about our next meeting and to register, click here

For more information about joining the collaborative, contact Kristina Ricci or (916) 856-3991.

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USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.