The Gateway Family YMCA Celebrates Healthy U on Food Day

Healthy Snacks at the YUNION COUNTY, NJ – On Friday October 24, The Gateway Family YMCA celebrated its sixth year participating in the Healthy U program with its annual kick-off event in youth programs, including before/after school care, child care and preschool, coinciding for the first time with National Food Day. Events occurred at each of the 24 After School Care sites held in Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway and Union, and both Child Development Centers in Elizabeth and Union operated by The Gateway Family YMCA.

During Aftercare snack time in Rahway, Linden and Elizabeth, all youth received an apple for snack and a cinch-bag give-a-way. CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) games were played and the Y’s HEPA (Healthy Eating and Physical Activity) Newsletter and various handouts were available to the parents at the time of child pick-up.

Children in Union Aftercare each site made “Healthy Caterpillars” out of grapes and tomatoes and apples, CATCH games were played and handouts, cinch bags, healthy recipes, and snacks were available for all parents.

During afternoon snack time at the Elizabeth and Union Child Development Centers, the healthy food was a “Witch Snack”. This was a healthy Halloween snack for all youth 2-4 years old. Staff/teachers helped the youth make the “Healthy Witch” out of bread (face and hat), brim of hat (apples), eyes (raisins), and hair (carrot sticks). Cream cheese was used as well.

“Having a Healthy U school-year kick-off event demonstrates our annual recommitment to Healthy U while creating an exciting program for the kids who can see how much fun healthy living can be.  Food Day is nationwide celebration in support of healthy, affordable, and sustainable food,” said Krystal Canady, CEO of The Gateway Family YMCA, “It was a natural fit to have our statewide Healthy U day coincide with this national event.”

According to Melynda Mileski, Chief Operating Officer; “Healthy U is just one more way The Gateway Family YMCA makes a positive impact on youth and families. It promotes physical activity and good nutrition while showing kids that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun.”

Healthy U is a collaborative partnership between the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey with the goal of combating childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education and family involvement.  The program is implemented at 530 YMCA sites across the state, including 400 after-school sites, 80 preschool sites and 50 elementary school sites. Nearly 40,000 children ages 3 to 13 now participate in the program.  Healthy U is made possible through a grant from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, a division of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Since 2008, the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested $3.45 million in the #HealthyU initiative.

For more information on this program contact Michael Johnson at 908-249-4809 or mjohnson@tgfymca.org or Sue Cornell, Healthy U Director, NJ YMCA State Alliance at sue.cornell@ymca.net or visit www.tgfymca.org.

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Healthy Games   Healthy Friends


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