Nutrition Security Programming

Full Bellies, Strong Bodies

Despite being one of the wealthiest cities in the country, San Francisco families and children struggle with food insecurity. According to a survey conducted by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank in 2021, households with children had the highest rates of food insecurity (87%) among their respondents experiencing food insecurity (80%). At Children’s Council of San Francisco, we offer nutrition security programs that ensure children have the food and healthy environments they need to thrive

While busy parents are working, little ones spend up to 50 hours a week in child care, giving providers a unique opportunity to influence the nutrition and physical activity behaviors of the children in their care. Children’s Council’s program empowers child care educators and parents through training, tools/resources, and technical support to help them succeed.

Filling little bellies and starting good habits that fuel a lifetime

Over one year, Children’s Council provides:

Our programs are dedicated to reducing food insecurity and hunger among low-income families and underrepresented communities of color in San Francisco.

Healthy Environments

Children’s Council’s Healthy Apple Program (HAP) is a Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) change tool that uses research-based best practices to coach educators on improving the nutrition, physical activity practices, and environment of child care facilities. The HAP recognizes achievements by issuing awards to child care providers who make improvements and reach their goals. HAP is an evidence-based program that has shown to be effective in lowering Body Mass Index (BMI) in children. (Stookey, Evans, Chan, Tao-Lew, & Arthur, 2017). 

  • 89% of educators agree that participating in the HAP has improved the nutrition and physical activity environment of their child care program.
  • 89% of educators agree that their knowledge of early child care physical activity and/or nutrition best practices has increased since participating in the HAP.
  • 69% of educators agree that without participating in the HAP, their program would not encourage as many healthy behaviors.

Nutrition Security

Children’s Council has been a proud sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for nearly 30 years. Child care providers participating in the CACFP receive partial reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks meeting the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal pattern.

  • 70% of educators agree that they serve healthier meals to the children in their care because they participate in the CACFP.
  • 73% of educators agree that the children in their care are more food secure because they participate in the CACFP.
  • 80% of educators agree that CACFP reimbursements supports their ability to afford healthy food for meals and snacks.

Program Barriers

Limited Funding for SNAP-Ed

More robust funding would support increased program capacity, so Children’s Council can increase engagement, better address disparities, and support child care educators more equitably.

Heavy Administrative Burden for CACFP

CACFP is administratively burdensome. To encourage participation, it’s essential that United States Department of Agriculture COVID-19 Waivers be made permanent, including: