McDowell Hospital Partners With YMCA For Afterschool Meals

The YMCA and McDowell Hospital are working together to provide after-school meals for children throughout the county.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, McDowell Hospital’s catering staff prepared the first batch of nearly 200 meals for the YMCA of Western North Carolina’s eight after-school programs in McDowell County. The federally-funded, state-administered Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) will reimburse the YMCA of Western North Carolina for part of the cost of these meals. This funding allows the YMCA to contract with McDowell Hospital catering to prepare tasty and nutritious meals that local students would not otherwise have access to, according to a news release.

The now well-known paradox of nutrition in the United States is that food insecurity often looks like abundant calories: a 200-calorie bag of chips or a 180-calorie soda. It might be hard to believe that a child consuming these calorie-dense foods could experience food insecurity. However, when the nutritional content of those foods is low, the “empty” calories leave kids’ diets lacking in essential protein and fiber, as well as micronutrients, such as vitamins A and C.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, 78 percent percent of students in McDowell County were eligible for free and reduced price lunch, a figure well above the state average of 60 percent of students in North Carolina in the same year and 48 percent of students nationally in 2010-2011, according to the news release.

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