National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week is celebrated annually in March to raise awareness of how this USDA-administered program works to combat hunger by bringing healthy food to children in child care. In Southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley, 4C for Children oversees this federal program for licensed family child care providers and child care centers.
Crystal Wheelright is a family child care provider who has been in business since 2007 and has used 4C services for just as long. “Throughout the years I have learned so much (from 4C for Children). 4C has taught me the best practices for meal planning: balance, variety, contrast, appeal and colors… I received my Step Up To Quality Star 1 with 4C. They supported step by step to successfully achieving my goal and supplied all the resources that I needed.”
Teaching children healthy habits early is one way to set them up for success later in life. But providing fresh, healthy food can be cost-prohibitive and navigating a federal program can be overwhelming for a small business owner like Crystal.
That’s where the expertise of the 4C for Children CNP team helps. They guide child care providers through the CACFP reimbursement process, from navigating software that tracks meals to record-keeping and organization and completion of necessary forms. Receiving reimbursement for qualifying purchased food makes it possible for providers to prepare healthy meals. In addition, they pass on the information they learn to the families they serve so healthy habits can continue to be built at home.
Not only does Crystal work with CNP staff to receive support as a CACFP participant, she also received coaching from 4C for Children and has earned her Step Up To Quality 1-star rating.
“Thank you 4C for Children for educating me and keeping me updated with current information,” Crystal says. “I will continue to practice serving healthy meals…and sharing information with my families to practice at home.”
Learn more about the Child Nutrition Program here: 4cforchildren.org/cnp