FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Youthprise Nutrition Program Reaches Momentous Milestone Amid
Rising Challenges for Meal Programs
[Minneapolis, February 6, 2024] — The Youthprise Nutrition Program closed out 2023 with a significant milestone of reaching 4 million meals served since the program’s inception in 2014. Operating under the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Nutrition Program is a vital resource, providing access to healthy meals to children and youth at community sites throughout the Twin Cities region. The program distributes approximately 19,000 meals each month, peaking at over 40,000 meals per month during the height of the pandemic.
The Nutrition Program receives federal funding through the Minnesota Department of Education, which allocates resources to meal sponsors like Youthprise. Youthprise works with food vendors and other resources to connect its network of out-of-school time service providers to meals and snacks for the children and youth they serve.
Kate Ross, Community Recreation Coordinator for St. Paul’s Parks and Recreation Arlington Hills Community Center, says that children at the center rely on the meal program. “Every day we have kids wondering when supper starts or how long they have to wait for it to start. For a lot of our kids, this is their evening meal,” said Ross.
Despite the program's achievements, operating has become increasingly complex due to more stringent protocols and heightened due diligence surrounding the vetting of community partners. Even with these challenges, Youthprise remains committed to making an impact by distributing meals 52 weeks a year to over 60 sites in the community.
“While the programs aren’t the easiest to operate, they help relieve stress for the youth our partners serve,” remarked Christa DeBoer, Nutrition Program Director for Youthprise. “Because of the program, they don’t need to worry about whether they’re going to have a meal. They can continue to focus on being brilliant,” she added.
Food insecurity has a profound impact on the holistic well-being of young people, influencing their ability to thrive. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in their wellness, learning, and overall success. In Minnesota, the distressing reality of food insecurity persists, with children being among those most impacted. Feeding American reports that nearly one third of Minnesotans facing hunger are under the age of 18.
While federal funds are indispensable, they are not enough to administer the program effectively, covering only reimbursement costs for food. Youthprise has been fortunate to receive grants from Minnesota's philanthropic community, helping bridge gaps in funding. Even with these challenges, the program continued to thrive in 2023, serving nearly 300,000 meals.
Youthprise's mission is to increase equity with and for Minnesota's indigenous, low-income, and racially diverse youth. We envision a Minnesota where outcomes are no longer predictable by race, geography, or socioeconomic status. For more information, visit youthprise.org.