Healthy Meals Program

Overview lisa.martinez

Healthy Meals Program

One in five students is food insecure in the capital region, which is higher than the national average. Students who go to school hungry
are unable to focus and learn.

United Way’s Healthy Meals program aims to increase children’s access to well-balanced, nutritious free meals to fuel their ability to learn, play and grow. 

Last year, our local United Way served 198,959 meals to local students at 13 after school programs and 23 community sites.

Federal programs exist to help kids, but many nonprofits and schools lack staff or technical support to make these programs happen in their communities. Our local United Way fills 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 and on a daily basis, we serve more than 1,200 healthy meals in after school programs in Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties.

Since 2014, our local United Way has served nearly one million healthy meals in after-school programs and during the summer months.

United Way’s Healthy Meals program provides:

  • After-school meals during the academic year.
  • Healthy lunches and fun activities at community centers, libraries, and housing communities during the summer.

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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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 will be held in February 2018.

For more information about joining the collaborative, contact Sayla Elsbree-Kraft or (916) 856-3997.

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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‘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.

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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.