Children participating in the Watertown Ys School Age Child Care program will receive healthier snacks and meals in the coming year thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.
Bridgette R. Gates, senior director of operations for the Ys youth and childrens programs, said the funds help offset the rising cost of food, particularly produce.
A lot of kids, because produce is getting more expensive a lot of times, they have a harder time getting fruits and vegetables, she said. We also added cooking clubs to our programs and (children) learn how to cook the food.
The SACC program operates in the Watertown, South Jefferson, Indian River, Gouverneur, Carthage, Sackets Harbor, General Brown and Thousand Islands school districts.
Mrs. Gates said older children help oversee younger ones as they prepare snacks and meals, providing a sense of ownership to what they eat.
They have more of a connection to it, she said.
Grant funds will allow SACC participants to prepare fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways.
Mrs. Gates said examples include homemade chicken noodle soup and baked apples. Sometimes participants get to take their creations home, sharing the ideas with family.
According to the Ys website, SACC program fees vary depending on attendance options. Participants can go from one to five days per week and may attend mornings and/or afternoon slots. Registration information can be found at school sites and on the Ys website, www.watertownymca.org.