(TOMS RIVER) – New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Food and Nutrition Director Rose Tricario and Patricia Dombroski, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, today commemorated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week with a visit to the Ocean Inc. Child Development Center in Toms River, where they feed 150 children a day breakfast, lunch and a snack through the CACFP.
“The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides thousands of New Jersey children the nourishment they need and teaches about healthy eating behaviors that will last a lifetime,” Director Tricario said. “We encourage child or adult day care centers and emergency shelters to participate in this essential program.”
The Ocean Inc. Program, also has five Head Start centers and two delegate centers in Lakewood, that feed more than 600 children daily. Theresa Gerhard, the Nutrition Services Manager at Ocean Inc., said the CACFP program helps offset food costs as well as educating staff and children on proper nutrition. She also said the program’s guidance makes it easier to provide children with healthy meals and snacks.
“The CACFP has benefited the children by teaching them how to choose healthy foods to eat,” Gerhard said. “The children are encouraged to try new foods and talk about the foods they like and what are healthy and non-healthy food choices.”
Governor Murphy proclaimed March 11-17 as Child and Adult Care Food Program Week in New Jersey, based on National CACFP Week, a national education and information campaign designed to raise awareness of how the Child and Adult Care Food Program works to combat hunger. The program also brings healthy foods to the table for adults in day care and children in child care homes, centers, and in afterschool feeding programs across the country.
“Providing children with the food they need to grow and thrive early in life is critical to their future success, health and well-being,” Dombroski said. “The USDA is proud to work with our partners like the Ocean Inc. Child Development Center to help grow stronger children and families.”
In New Jersey, the CACFP provides Program Sponsors funding for serving nutritious meals and healthy snacks to 96,953 eligible participants daily at 2,078 emergency shelters, day care centers, family day care homes, after-school care programs and adult day care centers, under the sponsorship of 679 New Jersey institutions. The program is federally funded and administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Nationally, child care providers and centers participating in CACFP provide meals to 4.2 million children and 130,000 elderly or disabled adults each day.
To learn more about New Jersey’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, visit http://bit.ly/1FwqWwB or call 609-984-1250.
To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJDeptofAgriculture and www.facebook.com/JerseyFreshOfficial or Twitter @NJDA1 and @JerseyFreshNJDA.