More Trenton children and youth will be able to enjoy a hot dinner, five-days-a-week at their after-school programs thanks to a grant from YMCA of the USA and reimbursement dollars from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The complimentary meals are offered to children and youth ages 18 and under.
Currently, about 135 city children are served dinner daily as part of after-school programs at the Trenton YMCA and Martin Luther King Elementary. “The additional funds have allowed the program to expand to also include three city-operated community centers,” said Khadijah McQueen, Food Access Coordinator at the Trenton YMCA. “We hope to provide meals to a total of 750 children and youth daily by June 2018.”
The Y also wants to provide dinners for kids at local housing developments. Planning for that initiative is underway with the hope to include two developments this year and add more in each year thereafter.
Come summer, the meals will continue, but at different locations. The plan is to expand from two sites to eight.
A local vendor helps the Y plan the menu according to USDA approved guidelines, ensuring each meal is healthy and appetizing to kids. The vendor prepares the meals and delivers them to the Y; the Y delivers the meals to each location.
McQueen is excited by the impact the meal service expansion will have on Trenton’s children. “It’s so important that kids learn about and see and taste healthy food,” she said. Understanding builds through experience, and in 2018, many more children will experience hot, healthy meals each weekday.