PHOTO: left to right:  Diana Limbacher, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service; Rose Tricario, Dir. of the Div. of Food and Nutrition NJ Dept. of Agriculture; Tanya Johnson, NJDA Child and Adult Care Food Program Coordinator, speaking with children at Monmouth Day Care Center while they eat their CACFP lunch.

RED BANK, NJ – New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Food and Nutrition Director Rose Tricario and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Regional Administrator Diana Limbacher on Tuesday commemorated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week with a visit to Monmouth Day Care Center in Red Bank, where they feed 120 children a day breakfast, lunch and a snack through the CACFP.

Tricario and Limbacher helped serve the youngest children a lunch of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, fruit cocktail and milk.

“The Child and Adult Care Food Program gives thousands of New Jersey children the nourishment they need in their crucial years, teaching them healthy eating behaviors that will last a lifetime,” said Director Tricario.  “We encourage child or adult day care centers and emergency shelters to participate in this essential program.”

Monmouth Day Care Center joined the CACFP in 1987.  Heather Martinho, the center’s early Childhood Education Coordinator, said the CACFP has helped to offset their food costs as well as educated the staff and children on proper nutrition.  She said the program’s provided guidance also makes it easier to provide the children with healthy meals and snacks.

“The CACFP has benefited the children by teaching them how to choose healthy foods to eat,” said Martinho.  “The children are encouraged to try new foods and talk about the foods they like and what are healthy and non-healthy food choices..  For many children in our center, the meals they receive are the only well-balanced meals they might have for the day and/or week.”

Governor Christie proclaimed March 13-19 as Child and Adult Care Food Program Week in New Jersey, based on National CACFP Week, a national education and information campaign sponsored annually by the National CACFP Sponsors Association. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of how the  Child and Adult Care Food Program works to combat hunger and bring healthy foods to the table for adults in day care and children in child care homes, centers, and in afterschool feeding programs across the country.

In New Jersey, the CACFP provides meals and snacks to 85,593 eligible participants at 1,835 shelters, day care centers, family day care homes, after-school care programs and adult day care centers under the sponsorship of more than 600 New Jersey institutions.  The program is federally funded and administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Nationally, child care providers and centers participating in CACFP provide meals to 3.5 million children and 116,000 elderly or disable adults each day for a total of 1.96 billion meals and snacks.

To learn more about New Jersey’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, visit http://bit.ly/1FwqWwB or call 609-984-1250.