October 28th 2014
On September 29th, a brand new cafeteria was filled with wide-eyed elementary school students wearing party hats to celebrate the newly renovated Spirit Building on UrbanPromise’s campus. A long-time vision of the Camden non-profit is coming to fruition with their full-service kitchen and cafeteria; starting this week children in their programs will have access to healthy meals and snacks on a daily basis.
In cities like Camden, children and teens often lack access to healthy meals. Key findings in an obesity study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation demonstrated that most Camden children do not consume the recommended amount of vegetables, but frequently consume high salt, high sugar foods. Parents reported limited availability of fresh produce and low-fat items in local stores.
“Nutritious food is critical to the healthy growth and development of children and teens,” explained UrbanPromise’s Executive Director, Jodina Hicks. “When families who already struggle to make ends meet have limited access to healthy foods, many simply cannot provide the balanced diet their children need. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide health meals and snacks that promote learning and growth for our students.”
With the help of the Walmart Foundation, UrbanPromise is launching their food programs, providing regular meals and snacks to a total of more than 600 children and teens in Camden. In addition, Walmart Foundation’s grant is supporting a program called UrbanChefs which trains young adults in the culinary arts, then employs them to prepare meals and snacks. UrbanPromise anticipates that they will serve more than 77,000 meals and snacks per year.