Meals for Children Available

April 28, 2017

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Nearly 7,000 children under child care have access to healthy food each month through the child nutrition program run by Chicano Federation.

The child nutrition program is a federally funded program operated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California Department of Education, and the Child Adult Care Food Program. The purpose of the program is to provide nutritious meals and snacks to children cared for in licensed family child care homes.

Chicano Federation is a local sponsor of the program. The non-profit started the program with four child care providers and an annual budget of $28,000. Now, the program has around 850 child care providers in San Diego County, Orange County and Los Angeles County, with an annual budget of $8,000,000.

An estimated 252,000 meals are served each month with the help of this program. The child care providers are reimbursed for up to $2,000 for the meals and snacks they give the children enrolled at their facilities. The meal and snacks have to be part of a set menu that includes proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, meat, and milk.

“Good nutrition is important for children because it helps them develop their mind and body,” said Rosa Ortiz, manager of the Chicano Federation’s child nutrition program. “Sometimes, the meals the children eat at the daycares are their most nutritious meals of the day”.

Cindy Quintana Roo is one of the child care providers who participates in the child nutrition program.

“I think maybe I wouldn’t be a child care provider if it wasn’t for this program,” said Quintana Roo. “With this program, I can offer breakfast, lunch, and a snack for the children. They eat a meal that is nutritious and balanced, and at the same time, something that is easy to prepare. Their parents are happy with this program because they can make sure their children are having a good nutrition. The good nutrition helps the children to grow up and reach their maximum potential.”

A mean can consist of, for example, a tomato quesadilla with an apple and a serving of skim milk.
“The meals the children eat are always assorted, and they include carbohydrates, protein, vegetables, fruit, and milk,” Quintana Roo added. “The children don’t need to be forced to eat, they eat their vegetables all by themselves.”

Quintana Roo opened her child care in November 2011 with eight children in a small house. Now, her child care has 12 children and is located in Chula Vista’s Eastlake district.

Child care providers who are interested in participating in the child nutrition program run by Chicano Federation, should call (619) 285-5600, extension 328.

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