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Boys & Girls Clubs, food bank give healthy after-school snacks
Seven-year-old Trenton Jackson reads over information he received about proper nutrition Monday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County. The Georgia Mountain Food Bank is sponsoring Munch Bunch, a program that provides healthy snacks and education about healthy eating. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Munch Bunch

For more information on the after-school snack program, contact the Georgia Mountain Food Bank at 770-967-0075.

The kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County got a healthy after-school snack Monday on the first day of the Munch Bunch program, sponsored by the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Granola bars and juice boxes are some of the food items children will start to eat after school to promote a nutritious diet.

Sandra Stringer, a Georgia Mountain Food Bank board member and a nutrition educator for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, will start visiting the clubs a couple times a month to introduce healthy snacks and talk about the importance of healthy eating.

Georgia Mountain Food Bank Director Kay Blackstock she is excited to see the program in action.

"We just want the children to be aware of the different options that are out there besides bags of chips or cookies ... and how that benefits their body being healthy and their mind being healthy," Blackstock said.

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank will provide a drink and a snack for each child two days a week.

The local food bank has received enough healthy goodies from the Atlanta Community Food Bank to keep the program going through December, but it will need support to continue the program next year.

The program will start by providing snacks, but Blackstock would like to be able to provide fresh produce and move to full meals in the future.

"This is the beginning of something that we are definitely supportive of expanding," Blackstock said.

Joe Ethier, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs, said he contacted the Georgia Mountain Food Bank when they first opened about collaborating.

He said providing kids with nutritious food will not only improve their health but may help their behavior and performance in school as well.

"I’m certain that there’s a certain population of the kids we’re serving today won’t go home to a full meal," Ethier said.

"For us to be able to sometime in the future make sure that we’re sending those kids home where they’re not going to sleep at night with an empty stomach is just another component of what we’re trying to do for the youth we’re serving," Ethier continued.

Blackstock said anyone interested in donating food or organizing a food drive for the Munch Bunch can collect granola bars, trail mix, baked whole wheat crackers, apples, protein drinks and 100 percent juice boxes.