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Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Walmart Foundation Celebrate 5 Years of Food Access Program for Native Youth

This year, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has much to celebrate as we serve 30 years of youth in Native Lands. Part of this legacy of service includes nutrition and meal programs that fuel today’s Native youth while recognizing the vital role food plays in Native American culture and heritage.

Through a five-year partnership with the Walmart Foundation, we are also celebrating 1 million meals served to Indigenous youth. This transformational partnership began with nutrition education and has expanded to include a healthy meal and snack program to nourish club members and their families.

Recognizing the food insecurity challenges faced by many Indigenous communities, particularly in rural areas, this program helps clubs support families by providing meals, education and strategic partnerships to feed and fuel children week to week. to provide.

IMPACT AT A GLANCE

Over the past five years, this national partnership has made a lasting impact by providing Indigenous youth and families with snacks and meals they can rely on:

  • Portion A total of 50 participating clubs across the country, including American Samoa.
  • In the past 5 years we have served 1 million meals, nearly 310,000 youth and over 1.2 million pounds of food!
  • We have served in 2022 alone nearly 480,000 pounds of food, totaling more than 400,000 meals and reaching more than 57,000 young people.
  • Many clubs offer 3 meals/day every day they are openwhile the original goal of this program was to provide up to 3 meals/day, 3 days/week.

SUPPORTING INTENDED PEOPLE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME

Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills youths harvest fruits and vegetables from the club garden

Indigenous people believe in the power of generations and food plays an important role in tribal heritage. The impact of this partnership is multigenerational, serving children and their nuclear families today, with nutrition education and passing on traditions for future generations.

Due to its multi-generational reach, this program has enabled clubs to be the mainstays of their communities, as in many cases families and community members have come to rely on their local clubs for this resource.

PARTNERSHIP FOCUS AND OUTPUTS

Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills processing maple syrup for youth after tapping from nearby forestBoys & Girls Club of Bay Mills processing maple syrup for youth after tapping from nearby forest

This food access program is a results-driven effort, including nutrition education. Over the years, the young people of these clubs have learned:

  • Basic cooking techniques
  • Healthy food shopping
  • Getting around resource constraints (particularly given the obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Leverage and maintain relationships with the local community to create healthy meals for themselves and their families
  • Cultural traditions and processes unique to their tribes

Boys & Girls Clubs of Coyote Valley youth enjoying lunchBoys & Girls Clubs of Coyote Valley youth enjoying lunch

The final emphasis of this programming is on securing sustainable local and federal food access relationships tailored to the unique needs of the community. Examples include USDA food supply programs such as the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Farmers to Families, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), as well as exploring emergency food plans, such as existing relationships with local food banks.

The ultimate goal of this program is to create long-term adoption and independence in facilitating these Indigenous communities, supporting the youth of today and making a lasting impact for future generations.

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