Along with loving relationships and quality education, nutrition plays a fundamental role in helping young children have a good foundation for a healthy life.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program helps daycare centers, home daycares and adult daycare centers provide healthy nutrition through “reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
In the Arkansas River Valley, the program is now accepting applications through the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council. So far this year, they have supported 13 childcare centers with 2,725 meals.
“We don’t want them serving (children) Kool-Aid and cookies. We want them to have milk, meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruit and so forth. We want them to have nutritional food versus a low-cost, low-nutritional meal,” said Beverly Vaughn, director of the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Daycares in the program are required to serve USDA-approved meals and snacks and are reimbursed for those expenses.
The amount of reimbursement depends on the number of children or adults served, the number of meals served and the income levels of the families.
Childcare centers receive an average reimbursement of $35 to $60 monthly for each child to have two meals and one snack per day, according to the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council website.
Vaughn said thousands of meals and snacks have been distributed through the program in local daycare centers and homes, with the number of children varying from less than 10 to over 100.
Daycare centers and daycare homes interested in the program can contact Beverly Vaughn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-785-2303 extension 212.
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