Summer Meals Success

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Passaic County Food Policy Council

Paterson has achieved huge successes in feeding more kids during the summer, thanks to the work of many amazing partners! We have been working hard since this time last year, when we hosted our Summer Meals Summit in partnership with Paterson Public Schools, Paterson Task Force, New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition and the NJ Department of Agriculture. Approximately 60 community leaders attended to learn how they can get involved and help feed more children in the summer.

The Passaic County Food Council’s Child Nutrition Advocacy Working Group then convened a more specialized training for organizations interested in becoming summer feeding sites. Our partners worked with the Paterson Public Schools, Paterson City Department of Recreation, The Dairy Council and many other community-based organizations to support new summer feeding sites and promote those sites by distributing flyers, posting information on websites and in social media, and hosting events.

Due to strategic collaboration among our many partners in Paterson, the rate of children participating in summer meals programs increased by more than 20% last year.

Paterson City Department of Recreation hosted a summer meals kickoff celebration and we all worked together to plan multiple events throughout the city to promote and celebrate the summer meals programs. Our coalition worked to promote all of the summer feeding sites to ensure that more of Paterson’s children could access nutritious meals during the summer.

We are especially grateful to the Paterson Public Schools Food Service Department, which is the summer feeding sponsor in Paterson. In particular, we would like to thank Mr. David Buchholtz, Director of the Paterson Public Schools Food Service Department, for his commitment and tireless effort in feeding more kids in Paterson.  He and his entire team ensured that all of the new and existing sites had the meals and logistical support they needed to succeed.

Due to these efforts and strategic collaboration among our many partners, in 2017 the rate of children participating in summer meals programs increased by more than 20% and 12 new summer feeding sites were formed throughout the community. Our success reflects our ability to work across sectors and boundaries that exist between institutions – breaking down silos to achieve collective impact. It is also an excellent example of our commitment to leverage existing resources to maximize value for the most vulnerable in our community. Learn about our plans for 2018 and get involved!

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Mary Celis
United Way of Passaic County