Food Program at Storyteller

“Thriving Children - Healthy Families - Vibrant Communities”

At Storyteller, often times the first task at hand is ensuring the child’s basic needs are met. One of the most important basic needs we provide is healthy meals. Children receive a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack each day, Monday through Friday. For many of our children, the only hot meals they eat are the ones we provide. Research shows that poor nutrition can have a significant impact on physical and cognitive development. In order to develop appropriately and be ready to learn, children need access to the right foods. This can be challenging for low-income families that struggle to put food on the table and often purchase unhealthy options because they are less expensive.

To address these issues and ensure Storyteller's Children have the best start possible, we work with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to provide nourishing, locally-grown, cooked-from-scratch foods. We introduce children to a variety of new local and seasonal foods such as squash and kiwi. With an ever-changing menu, we expose them to a variety of healthy options, which will increase their chances of developing a wholesome diet as they grow. In addition, we use mealtime to promote language development and social skills. By serving meals family-style (rather than in individual trays), children practice asking for and passing food to each other, as well as pouring their own milk. Children learn to share as well as learn taking turns.Teachers and children even try their own hand at growing fruits and vegetables in our Storyteller gardens! Children learn about where food comes from, watching the vegetables they plant grow; they get excited eating something they helped create!

Our kitchen staff take all required trainings for food handling and nutrition based off the Healthy Schools' Act.

We receive limited federal reimbursed funding from USDA's Child & Adult Care Food Program in the amount of $67,816 for a typical year. The direct cost of food alone is $100,000, so we must raise over $33,000 annually to supplement this deficit.

Storyteller partners with the Food Bank's FLIP Program (Food Literacy In Preschool). Modeling healthy behaviors and understanding the relationship between good nutrition, physical activity and disease prevention are keys features of the FLIP Program. FLIP is part of an integrated series of programming housed under the "Feed The Future" Programs.

Each month, the Food Bank delivers fresh vegetables.  Storyteller teaches "Food Literacy."  We model healthy behaviors and teach the children how to cook and prepare simple meals. An accompanying curriculum provides the teachers with activities to help the children learn. The fruits and vegetable are also provided for the families, along with healthy recipes. 

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