The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

March 19, 2014

Palestine YMCA receives 'Super Snack' grant

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — The Palestine YMCA received $8,750 recently to improve and support its after-school “Super Snack” meal program recently.

The Palestine YMCA is joining a national effort to serve 3.5 million healthy meals and snacks throughout the school year, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, through its after-school meal program throughout the rest of the 2013-14 school year. The program will provide children with additional nutrition and learning opportunities needed to be healthy and succeed in school.

As part of a national partnership between YMCA and the Walmart Foundation, the program will provide activities to help improve all academic skills, helping children to explore their imaginations and utilize their creativity. The program also will make a healthy “Super Snacks” available to kids who may otherwise be at risk of hunger when the school day ends.

According to the USDA, nearly 50 million Americans – including more than 16 million children and teens under age 18 – live with food insecurity. Through its after-school program and a grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Y will serve more children through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, which feeds school-aged children during the week, on weekends and during school vacations.

“Some students, particularly those who receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch, may not know where their next meal will come from when the school day ends,” Palestine YMCA Child Care Director Carl Simons said. “At the Palestine YMCA, we are committed to keeping kids nourished all year long. Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, our Y will be able to do more to address this issue.”

Combining play with academic enrichment, YMCA after-school programs promote creativity, a love for learning, social and emotional development and character building, while complementing lessons learned during the school day.

Y after-school also incorporates a variety of special activities to ensure departure from the daily routine. These activities include climbing the rock wall and playing GaGa Ball. They also learn about nutrition by planting and harvesting a vegetable garden. This also gives the children the necessary skills to create a vegetable garden at their own homes.

As a leading nonprofit committed to healthy living, the Y also is working to improve the nutritional value of all meals and snacks served in early child care and after-school settings.

“The Palestine Y is committed to standards that ensure children eat healthy foods and get adequate amounts of physical activity,” a YMCA news release said.

To learn more, contact the Palestine YMCA at 903-729-3139 or visit the facility at 5500 N. Loop 256.