La Crosse Area Family YMCA Fighting Child Hunger with Summer Food Program
The Y aims to serve over 4.5 million meals and snacks to 160,000 youth nationwide this summer
La Crosse, WI June 6, 2019—According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 22 million kids receive free or reduced-cost meals thanks to the National School Lunch Program. However, once the school year ends, 5 out of 6 of those kids, no longer have access to free or reduced-price meals, leaving many children without during the summer months.
The Y will help keep children healthy and well-nourished this summer, ensuring that kids reach their full potential. Participating youth will receive both food and fun through nutritious meals and snacks, while also enjoying recreational and learning activities aimed at keeping bodies and minds active. At more than 1,000 locations across the country, including seven locations served by the La Crosse Area Family YMCA, the Y will offer the Summer Food Program to any child 18 and under. The program runs from June 6 to August 16.
The program is part of the Y’s year-round effort to address child hunger; during the school year, the Y’s Afterschool Meal Program provides a combination of learning activities and healthy meals and/or snacks at the end of the school day.
The La Crosse Area Family YMCA will serve more than 10,000 meals through the Summer Food Program and more than 200,000 meals throughout the course of 2019 here in La Crosse County. To learn more about the Y’s Summer Food Program, call Melissa La Fond.
“Hunger has a lasting impact on the development of children,” says La Fond, Community Nutrition Director for the Y in La Crosse. “Without access to nutrition-filled meals, kids can’t focus, become agitated, engage in risky behavior and ultimately, can’t reach their full potential. The Y’s Summer Food Program helps make sure kids can enjoy healthy and delicious meals and snacks all summer long.”
Throughout the summer, The Y takes the Summer Food Program into the community to reach youth who may not be able to visit the Y. Kids will have access to healthy meals and snacks and fun activities through the Y’s partnership with the La Crosse Public Library, City Parks, the La Crosse School District, and the Boys and Girls Club. In addition to these partnerships, The Y coordinates with the Salvation Army and Gundersen Health System to as many kids as possible have access to food to eat this summer.
In the La Crosse community, 17% of children are food insecure. One of the great things about the Summer Food Program is that any child can gain access to a free meal so that those who are in need of food do not need to feel ashamed in front of their peers. Many of the kids who eat meals at the Y are enrolled in our School Age Care and Day Camp programs and 1 in 3 receive financial assistance from the Y or the state. As a Y we work to ensure that children aren’t turned away from our programs because of their inability to pay, so many kids may rely on the meals they receive from our programs.
Locations, Meal Type, Date, and Time
- Dahl Family YMCA Breakfast (M-F 9:30-10:30 am)
- Dahl Family YMCA Supper (M-F 3:00-4:30 pm)
- Dahl Family YMCA Lunch (Sat-Sun 12:00-1:00 pm)
- R.W. Houser Family YMCA Breakfast (M-F 9:30-10:30 am)
- R.W. Houser Family YMCA Supper (M-F 2:45-3:45 pm)
- R.W. Houser Family YMCA Lunch (Sat-Sun 12:00-1:00 pm)
- Schuh Mullen Boys and Girls Club Lunch (M-F 12:15-12:45 pm)
- North Community Library Supper (M-F 3:15-3:45 pm)
- Mathy Center Boys and Girls Club Supper (M-F 3:30-4:15 pm)
- Poage Park Supper (M-F 4:30-5:00 pm)
This year marks the program’s eighth year nationally and the Y’s ongoing commitment to helping kids achieve their full potential by nurturing their physical, mental and social-emotional development. Since the start of the Summer Food Program, the Y has served over 92 million healthy meals and snacks to hundreds of thousands of kids.
During the school year, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA also serves healthy meals and snacks in its afterschool program and at the North Community Library to provide kids with nourishment and academic enrichment.