They Came for the Snack

Mott Public Library

“Miss Carol, what’s for snack today? Can I help?” The After School program at the Mott Public Library provides a small snack right before activities begin. Sometimes creating the snack is the activity. There are a few reasons we provide a small, healthy snack. One of the reasons is that kids are ravenous after school. The snack can help them focus on the activity or task at hand. We also use this as an opportunity to talk about healthy foods, nutrition, serving sizes, food preparation, hygiene, cultural diversity and career choices. We have found that a few children really love the prep part and are considering cooking/baking as a career choice.
Most snacks are donated and those that are purchased through generous donations have an average weekly cost of $10.00. Simple snacks are best. Sometimes it is just fruit or vegis and juice or water. There have been more complicated snacks. We made caramel apples one day. We learned that when you keep microwaving the caramel, once it cools, it turns into toffee. Hard toffee on an apple. We make mistakes. We learn resilience, to follow directions, to collaborate, to serve fellow patrons, to plan for enough for everyone, and to have fun. We also practice clean up, the least favorite part of preparing food, but necessary.
Public Libraries around the country provide a snack for after school patrons in an effort to address food insecurity in their communities. A national campaign has focused on Food Insecurity and how Libraries can make a difference. Food insecurity is complex. Rural communities, children and seniors are among those most affected by food insecurity. One of the 10 indicators of food insecurity in a 2018 survey is could not afford balanced meal. Consider the price of a box of corn dogs and a bag of fries as a meal for a family of 4 to a well balanced meal with meal components from the USDA My Plate nutrition guide which includes: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Protein and Dairy. High quality meals to provide adequate nutrition for healthy minds and bodies are often more costly and take more time to prepare. A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables can be difficult to attain in rural communities and can be significantly more costly than say, a box of fruit snacks. Libraries can help fill a gap by providing a healthy snack along with safe meal prep instruction, and nutrition education. Contact us if you would like to help lead a snack prep, provide a healthy snack or know more about our program.

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