Food insecurity, especially for kids, is a big problem in the United States. According to a report from the USDA in 2021, an estimated 10.5 million children in the United States lived in food-insecure households in 2019. This means that around 14% of all children in the United States may not have access to enough food on a regular basis. 

Hunger and food insecurity significantly affect a child’s physical health, mental health, and academic performance. Programs such as school meal programs, food banks, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) can provide relief, but there is a lot of work to do to ensure that all children have access to nutritious food regularly. 

That’s why the YMCA is proud to help by making Grab-and-go meals available to kids in our community. 

How Grab-and-Go Meals Strengthen a Community 

“Grab-and-go” meals — which are pre-packaged meals that can be easily picked up by children without the need for a sit-down meal — can be an important strategy to support the health and well-being of children and families in a community. By providing access to nutritious food and building relationships between community members, these programs can help to strengthen the social fabric.

1. Reduce Hunger

One of the primary benefits of grab-and-go meals is that they help to reduce hunger among children. When kids are hungry, they may have difficulty concentrating in school and may experience other negative health consequences. By providing easily accessible meals, a grab-and-go program can help to ensure that children in the community have access to nutritious food.

2. Promote Health and Well-being

Grab-and-go meals can and typically are designed to be healthy and nutritious so that they reliably provide kids with the nourishment and nutrients they need to thrive. This is a major step in encouraging positive physical and mental health outcomes, which can strengthen the overall well-being of the community.

3. Build Relationships

Grab-and-go programs can also help to build relationships between community members. When families come together to pick up meals, they may have the opportunity to connect with one another and build a sense of community. This can be particularly important for families who may be struggling to make ends meet or who may be experiencing social isolation. 

Get a Grab and Go Meal at the YMCA of Greater Whittier! 

Do you know kids who could use a meal? “Grab-and-Go” The Y is offering free healthy meals to ALL CHILDREN under 18 in our community at both of our branches. Grab-and-Go meals are now available! 

  • Uptown Whittier YMCA Family Center: 12510 Hadley St. Whittier, CA 90601 on Monday–Friday: 12:00 pm–1:30 pm. 
  • East Whittier YMCA Family Center: 15740 Starbuck St. Whittier, CA 90603 on Monday–Friday: 9:00 am–11:00 am. 

Each pick-up will include 3 breakfast meals and 3 lunch meals and 3 snacks. Weekend meal kits are also available during the Friday service time. On Friday children will receive 3 breakfast meals and 3 lunch meals.