From left: Marie, Araceli, Jitzel, Jennifer and Genaro Suárez
Eight-year-old Genaro loves the taekwondo classes, because they teach him how to defend himself. Jennifer, age 6, is psyched about the cooking classes. Ten-year-old Jitzel looks forward to time with her tutor. And after sitting in school all day, 12-year-old Marie likes the chance to work out in martial arts classes.
“This program helps me and my family enormously. I don’t need to worry about my kids learning on an empty stomach,'' she said during a Facebook Live event. “If it was not for this program, my kids would not have nutritious snacks after a long day of school and in between after-school activities.”
This Aurora mom’s four children are among 40,000 Coloradans who benefit from healthy food provided by the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is funded by the USDA and managed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The program helps child care centers, family child care homes, after-school programs, Head Start and outside-school-hours programs, adult day care centers, and emergency and homeless shelters serve healthy snacks and meals. Its meal standards, based on the USDA dietary guidelines, are designed to meet two-thirds of a child’s or adult’s daily nutritional needs. And new meal standards that went into effect April 2017 eliminate sweetened grains, such as cookies, pastries and breakfast bars, and limit sugar in breakfast cereal and yogurt.
In the Facebook Live event, the Suárez family chatted in English and Spanish with Vanessa Bernal, bilingual media relations specialist with the state health department. Araceli invited viewers to get involved with agencies participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. She said her children receive tutoring four days a week at Aurora Community Connection after long school days, and she knows they perform better because they receive healthy snacks.
If you’re interested in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, ask if your care provider participates. Providers who want to participate or gain more information can call 303-692-2330 or visit the program’s web page.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights,1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.