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Lutheran Office for
122 C Street N.W., Suite
Westwood Lutheran Early Childhood Center St. Louis Park, MN
“Families are given a safe, nurturing place for their children, where nutritious meals are offered. Parents are able to concentrate on their own education and job training.”
With the church-based center, they are able to provide limited scholarship assistance to the center, but the needs always outstrip their resources. Ms Stalheim cares for about 70 children everyday at her center, where she is able to serve breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack to the children because of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Although the paperwork requirements are high, there are benefits to having the reimbursement. It allows them to offer nutritious meals to all enrollees, and helps the center to maintain the highest possible quality experience. These benefits are offered to all the families with the deep appreciation that no parent has to make impossible choices about nutrition for their child. Without the reimbursement for meals, they would simply need to reduce the enrollment of the neediest families in the community.
Marilyn Stalheim is the Director at Westwood Lutheran Early Childhood Center in St. Louis Park, MN. She remembers a young woman who had two children enrolled in the child care center a few years back. As a single mother, she was struggling to gain a college degree and thereby improve her family’s life. The food program and scholarship assistance were critical factors to her success. Years later, Marilyn received a letter from this woman telling her about her graduation from college and that she was now gainfully employed. The young mother went on to comment on the importance of a program which offered breakfast, snacks and a hot lunch. Her thank you included a $1,000 check which she wished to have used to support another young parent, who could only accomplish this radical change in her family’s fortune if given assistance.
Upper Perkiomen Day Care Red Hill, PA
Similar to other day care centers in PA, Upper Perkiomen Child Care Center (UPCCC) is at its maximum, providing care for 140 children everyday. They participate in CACFP by providing a healthy breakfast and lunch to their children.
“After much paperwork, we were approved,” says Janice Murphy, Director at UPCCC.
Before the program, they were dependent upon foods that were donated to the center, which included cookies and ice cream. Today, the children enjoy cheese and crackers, homemade bread, yogurt, unsweetened cereals, fruits and vegetables. They are also able to do their accounting on-line, which creates ease in reporting to the state.
While other children wait on the state’s subsidized care list, which is currently at six months, these children at UPCCC will be able to receive good nutrition in an educational environment because of the Child and Adult Care Program.
Grace Place Children’s Center Lancaster, PA
“The CACFP is a real life saver to our futures.”
Subsidized child care is a very important part of our business. Parents in Lancaster, PA would not be able to work if subsidized child care was not available. The waiting list is almost two months long. There are only two other centers in the area for parents to choose from. These two other centers do not participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program; therefore, parents using these centers have to make sure to pack a lunch and give their children breakfast.
CACFP benefits the center by helping to fund the meals that are served to the children. The children receive a well balanced breakfast and lunch, as well as a nutritious afternoon snack. The program provides the center with nutritional guidelines to help them know that the children are receiving the proper components of a well balanced diet. Many of the children attending this child care center come from low income, single parent families. The parents cannot afford to make sure that their children have a component from each of the four food groups, as much as they would like to. The reimbursements have been adequate and received in a timely manner, but without the help of the front office of the church assisting in the paperwork, the child care workers would find it difficult to meet all the paperwork requirements on top of providing quality care for the children.
Christ Lutheran Child Care Center Belfair, WA
“In thinking about how important the Child and Adult Care Food Program is to the children in our center, a particular family comes to mind. We served this family of 3 children for about 2 years. Their single mother had medical problems, and had been unemployed, making it difficult for her to care for her children the way she would like. Often the meals at our center were their saving grace. We always knew these 3 children had a good, balanced breakfast and lunch, along with 2 snacks. If their mom could only provide a little for them, she knew we could pick up the slack and could always feed her children when they were hungry. This is a story specific to a certain family in our care, but it could be applied to so many whom we serve here. The Child and Adult Care Food Program makes a difference in the lives of children such as these. It allows kids to focus on the learning essential to childhood development rather than how hungry they are. Without the food program the children in our care mmight not have the nutritious, balanced meals we are now able to offer them.”
Lutheran Child Care Fort Wayne, IN
“When we ask some children what they had for supper, or for an evening meal, they cannot respond.”
A child care center operated through the Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, Lutheran Child Care serves 45 children, of which 99.9% are low-income. With reimbursements from the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the center is able to provide two balanced meals and two nutritious snacks each day. In some cases, this may be the only meals the children will receive in a day. The reimbursements help to offset some of the costs and allows parents who tend to be welfare to work parents, often young and single, to feel secure knowing their children are receiving quality subsidized child care.
Youth centers, food banks, some churches and the mission are other options for children in the community to get food, but the recent economic downturn has caused the otherwise comprehensive food bank system in Fort Wayne to stretch its resources. Parents do have the choice to leave their children at home or with a relative, but then the children lose the opportunity for socialization and kindergarten readiness if cared for at home.
Helping Hands Christian Child Care Lansing, MI
“Parents can’t believe their children are eating broccoli and cauliflower.”
Members at Redeemer Lutheran Church came together to reach out to help others in their community. They saw a need for affordable, quality child care in the area and began Helping Hand Christian Child Care, a ministry of the church. Today, they serve 22 children with many coming from families who have struggled a great deal financially. One of the reasons why they are able to keep their costs low to the community is through the Child and Adult Care Food Program reimbursements that allow them to serve meals without raising the cost to parents. Otherwise without the reimbursement, they would have to increase their rates to offset the expense of providing those daily meals. They are dedicated to keeping rates reasonable to help those in the community afford quality child care. Having to raise the rates or cut the food program would be a great disservice to the children.
Children have other options for food in the area, but they are limited to the parent’s participation in the food bank and the soup kitchen. It is difficult for parents to seek these other resources for multiple reasons, so it is important that the child care center is able to serve meals to the children. The breakfast, lunch and snacks served at Helping Hands Christian Child Care are well balanced and nutritious. The center also provides a place for the children to try new things. Parents cannot believe their children are eating the broccoli and cauliflower included in the lunches. Children have also been exposed to and enjoyed new foods like strawberries, blueberries, papaya and mangos.
Joy Child Development Center Eagle River, AK
For the 28,000 people who live in Eagle River, it is a commute to Anchorage, where almost one-third of the population of Alaska lives and most of the jobs are located. Many personnel from Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base live in Eagle River, and many of the area's civilian residents commute to Anchorage jobs. The parents of the 60 kids who attend Joy Child Development Center know that when they leave their children to be cared for by Mae Cherry and her child care co-workers, they will receive a well-rounded breakfast, AM snack, lunch and PM snack. Without the reimbursements they receive, they would not be able to afford to feed the children the quality meals they get everyday. Also, the program provides staff training and resources for the center. They rely on the reimbursements and training from the Child and Adult Care Food Program to enable them to provide the quality care and food at a price parents can afford. Child care is limited in the community, so they work hard to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of the families in Eagle River.
TLC Christian Day Care Manvel, ND
As a non-profit organization that provides quality childcare to a small community, TLC Christian Day Care receives a great benefit from the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The average family in Manvel does not make a great income, so the day care center strives to keep their tuition rates low as a ministry to the families they serve. Although the paperwork and documentation requirements are excessive, the center appreciates the program. Partly because of the assistance they received through CACFP, they were able to enter their second year without a tuition increase. CACFP has not only helped financially but it has also helped to improve the quality of care by sending cook books and educational kits to use with the children, and provided opportunities for staff training.
Without CACFP they would have to increase rates to cover the cost of providing healthy, warm meals. The only other option in this community for food is for the parents to send sack lunches to daycare. TLC is extremely grateful for the CACFP program.
For more information contact Hun Quach, (202) 626-7936 or Kay Bengston, (202) 626-7942 at the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.