To ensure that children in Jamestown have access to food year-round, the Jamestown Family YMCA is offering free healthy meals and snacks through its summer food program, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.
The Y has partnered with the Wal-Mart Foundation and Chautauqua Opportunities to address child hunger in communities, with a focus on increasing participation in the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals to children aged 18 and under while school is out.
This summer, more than 300 YMCAs nationwide will offer summer food programs with a collective goal to serve 5 million healthy meals and snacks to 100,000 children. In Jamestown, the Y plans to serve 120 meals and snacks each day at summer camp programs at the Eastside YMCA and the Fourth Street YMCA to help children stay well-nourished.
"For some children in our communities, the end of the school year means end of meals," said Ronda Piazza, Jamestown YMCA child care executive. "At the Y, we are focused on making sure children stay healthy and well-nourished. Thanks to the partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation, and Chautauqua Opportunities Summer Feeding Program, our Y will be able to provide meals to children in the community who need them most."
At the Jamestown Family YMCA's Summer Camp Discovery, Camp Chautau, Eastside Youth Center and Middle School Academy, children will receive a meal and a snack each day.
"At Wal-Mart, we recognize the need to support the development of our nation's youth," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. "We know that providing access to healthy meals during the summer months will enable students to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed. By working closely with the Jamestown Family YMCA, we can help kids have better summers and, ultimately, better lives."
Nationally, the Y is a partner in the Wal-Mart Foundation's 2012 Summer Giving Campaign, which has committed more than $20 million in grants to expand nutrition, learning and employment programs for elementary, middle and high school students in more than 350 communities. The Wal-Mart Foundation contributed a $5 million grant to YMCA of the USA to address child hunger. Y-USA, in turn, passes the funding along in the form of grants to participating YMCAs.
In addition, a portion of the money awarded to the Jamestown YMCA will be used in partnership with Chautauqua Striders to provide weekly interactive, engaging activities for campers that will help them continue to develop their skills in literacy and math and prevent common summer learning loss that many children experience.