United Way’s Healthy Meals Fueling Kids Success
After school meals program expanded to 18 locations in Fall 2019
1 in 5 students in the Sacramento region is food insecure. United Way’s Healthy Meals program increases children’s access to well-balanced, nutritious and free meals which fuels their ability to learn and grow.
This fall, United Way’s Healthy Meals program is expanding and is now available to all children 18 years and younger at 18 locations throughout the region. After school meals will continue to be served at select community centers and apartment complexes, and now through a partnership with the Sacramento Public Library at eight branches.
We connected with Christie Hamm, Youth Services Manager at the Sacramento Public Library, to learn more about the expansion.
How did Sacramento Public Library’s partnership with United Way’s Healy Meals program develop?
The Library has offered summer meals over the past 7 years, working with United Way and other partners, and it has been quite successful. This past summer, we served 21,555 meals to local kids at the participating library branches. Our staff has always asked about the possibility of offering meals during the school year, but there were challenges to getting started that we couldn’t quite solve. That is until, we connected with Jeanette Cosentino, healthy meals program manager at United Way, this year.
Why are you offering meals at the library?
At the library, we see kids who are hungry every day. It is an ever present need. They can’t focus on homework or reading when they are hungry. This provides a way to give kids something nutritious to eat and while they are at the library our resources available to them such as books, computers and homework help. After school meals are often offered at branches where we have some programming after school. The addition of the free meals makes our programming more attractive to kids.
What is the response thus far?
We are piloting this program this year and each branch is different. After just our first two days of running the program, our eight libraries have served approximately 183 meals.To learn more about Meals at the Library, visit https://www.saclibrary.org/Event/Special-Events/Lunch-at-the-Library.