By ANTHONY DOLCE
National Child and Adult Care Food Program week is being recognized locally by Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. through Saturday. The primary goal of program is to provide students attending child care homes and centers with nutritious meals, while also assisting to establish healthy eating habits, reducing future health care and education costs, and training and supporting local child care personnel. Additionally, research also indicates that the program is one important factor in providing quality child care.
During the week, Chautauqua Opportunities, a nonprofit sponsor, will be joining with Chautauqua County family child care providers, center staff, and after-school programs, in showing the community the many ways they can benefit from the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Children who are cared for by providers participating in the program receive the benefits of nutritious USDA regulated meals that guarantee prosperous development. Children who receive early nutritional education gain skills that help them establish positive eating habits and quality diets for the rest of their lives.
Parents of these children are assured that they receive high quality meals. Thanks to proper nutrition, children are less likely to experience illness and fatigue, while also developing at a normal physical and intellectual pace, with good nutrition being the recipe for a happier child.
Providers get nutrition-based education and other supporting services from program sponsors, which help them serve meals and create a positive eating environment for children. The quality of child care that is provided in the community is improved thanks to both educational and financial resources available to these caregivers.
This program provides more than 2 billion meals and snacks to nearly 5 million children in child care centers, family care homes, and after school programs, 115,000 elderly people in Adult Day Care, more than 62,000 child care centers, and 115,000 family child care providers working with 800 sponsors use the Child and Adult Care Food Program to provide children with high quality nutrition and learning.