(TRENTON) – Today, New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher held a virtual visit to the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc., Alpha Chapter in Jersey City to commemorate Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week, joined by USDA Mid-Atlantic Regional Office Administrator Dr. Patty Bennett.
The Phi Delta Kappa Inc., Alpha Chapter is an educational sorority that was established in 1923 which has been providing educational programs in Jersey City for the last 98 years. All members are current or retired educators that work or have worked in various school districts as teachers and administrators. The organization has been providing after-school hot dinner meals to the students of the Jersey City Public Schools, Charter Schools, Private Schools, and local nonprofits for the past 8 years.
“The work done by the Phi Delta Kappa Alpha Chapter is a testament to how people can make a positive difference in their community,” Secretary Fisher said. “This group is continuing to care for children by giving them the opportunity for meals through the CACFP and is an outstanding example of what can happen when citizens and state and federal agencies work together to meet an essential need.”
The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc., Alpha Chapter was presented with a CACFP Achievement Award by Dr. Bennett for its outstanding work.
“It is important for children to establish healthy eating habits at a young age,” Bennett said. “The USDA is proud to work with partners like the Alpha Chapter of the National Phi Delta Kappa in its efforts to help provide children with the food they need to grow and thrive, both before and during the pandemic.”
During the pandemic, which started in March of 2020, the Alpha Chapter partnered with the Jersey City Public Schools to distribute after-school meals and snacks with the district’s distribution of breakfast and lunch at the same time. This special collaboration allowed the students of the Jersey City Public Schools to receive four meals a day. In this program, the Alpha Chapter serves 4,700 meals a day and 23,500 per week. The current waiver from the USDA has allowed the program to continue directly addressing the food insecurity that was caused by the pandemic with community nutrition education services.
“The USDA’s flexibilities after the pandemic began have been a key factor in allowing us to continue to serve healthy food to those in need in our area,” Phi Delta Kappa Inc., Alpha Chapter Program Manager Dr. Elnardo Webster said. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that a quality meal is readily available and the CACFP plays a major role in making that a reality.”
National CACFP Week is an educational and informational campaign designed to raise awareness of how the Child and Adult Care Food Program works to combat hunger. The program brings healthy foods to the table for adults in day care and children in childcare homes, centers, and in after-school feeding programs across the country.
In New Jersey, the CACFP provides meals and snacks to more than 100,000 eligible participants at shelters, childcare centers, family childcare homes, after-school care programs and adult day care centers with more than 600 sponsors. The program is federally funded and administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Nationally, childcare providers and centers participating in CACFP provide meals to 4.2 million children and 130,000 elderly or disabled adults each day.
To learn more about New Jersey’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, visit http://bit.ly/1FwqWwB or call 609-984-1250.
To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJDeptofAgriculture and www.facebook.com/JerseyFreshOfficial or Twitter @NJDA and @JerseyFreshNJDA.