Sweet taste of healthy success

Posted On April 22, 2014 By | No Comments on Sweet taste of healthy success

Parents can appreciate the challenges of getting your children to make healthy eating choices – from costs, to creative cooking, to ultra-picky eaters. Sometimes, it’s a difficult to simply get a family meal together.

Kathrine Mansfield is a VYDC AmeriCorps member, serving in COTS children’s programs this year. Her service mission is to help improve nutrition and wellness for children experiencing homelessness.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips have become popular snack in COTS family shelter.

And, she thought one way she could achieve this was through sweet potatoes.

Kathrine recently launched Vermont’s first snack program in a family shelter. The new program debuted at the Main Street Family Shelter, which hosts 10 families each night.

The program:

  • Offers healthy snacks and meals to children;
  • Addresses nation’s food scarcity and obesity epidemic, which hits families who are homeless particularly hard;
  • Provides structured after-school time for children in shelter.

“I have never seen kids so obsessed with sweet potato chips!” Kathrine said. “Upon creating the snack food program, I often saw kids eating chips regularly.  However, over the past month, they also have started eating fresh veggies. It has gotten to the point that some kids – who once ate Doritos like they were going out of style – have started begging me to make sweet potato chips. To this day, it is one of their favorite dishes!”

This program is managed by Kathrine and three regular COTS volunteers, under the supervision of COTS Family Shelter staff.

Kathrine and the volunteers serve healthy snacks from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesday nights, they prepare and serve dinner with the children instead. “The dinner program has become one of our most well-loved programs, which we hope to expand to multiple weeknights,” Kathrine said.

Child Care Resource’s Child and Adult Care Food Program is among the program’s funders.

Kathrine and COTS family shelter staff plan to make and share the beloved Sweet Potato Chips with Walkers at the Main Street Family Shelter stop on May 4. If you’d like the chips at home, check out the recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Chip.

Categories: COTS Shelters, Homelessness, Volunteers
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