One of the best things we can do to improve public health is to help children develop healthy eating habits in the early stages of their life. Heluna Health’s direct service program, Angels Child Care Food Program (Angels CCFP), is on a mission to provide a quality child care experience that helps children develop physically, socially, and emotionally through nutrition support. By working with child care providers, Angels CCFP positively impacts children’s health and eating habits early in life.
Angels Child Care Food Program was established in January 2001 by Executive Director Jamie Ortega. Jamie has always worked in social services and believes that helping and feeding children is one of the best ways to help make a difference. On choosing to work with Heluna Health, Jamie said, “I knew deep in my heart that Heluna Health was the right choice because of the different organizations that worked with Heluna Health servicing different communities in different fields… I came to Heluna Health with a dream, and they helped me put it into action and service.”
Child care providers who participate in the Angels Child Care Food Program receive tailored nutritional training on how and what to feed children in their care, menu plans, food suggestions, and educational handouts regarding food groups. Providers also receive reimbursement for meals that they serve to children in care. Under Angels CCFP, all children receive free meals regardless of household income. The transformational value this brings to children’s lives is immeasurable, and for some children, the free meal they receive under Angels CCFP is the only meal they will receive for the whole day.
” I appreciate [Angels CCFP] because it allows for my daycare children to receive knowledge of what is a healthy and balanced meal. Unfortunately, with busy lives, this is early training they may not be receiving consistently at home. This allows them to develop healthy habits early in life that they can benefit [from] long-term. I am glad to be a part of that!” – Angels Child Care Food Program Provider
Good nutritional habits are, indeed, critical to long-term health. Children who regularly eat unhealthy foods in their early development are more likely to develop preventable health conditions later in life, while the opposite is true for children who develop healthy eating habits.
Angels CCFP assists over 580 providers and serves more than 5,500 children. Their transformational work happens every day because of generous funding and donations, but Angels CCFP would like to serve more child care providers and children in their care. Right now, Angels CCFP receives limited funding. Increased funding could increase the power of Angels CCFP to shape the nutritional habits of young kids. With individual donations, Angels CCFP can provide more educational materials and better help child care providers and the children they feed. You can donate to Angels Child Care Food Program through Heluna Health’s donation portal. Every dollar donated helps children in child care get a healthy start in life.