News

Sep 18, 2015

Kids and Teens Eat Free at First Choice South Valley


The meal program runs from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm each weekday, while supplies last. No registration is required - all children and teens up to age 18 are welcome.  This program is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and in a partnership with NM Children Youth and Families Department.

For more information and the non-discrimination statement, please click here.

The USDA seeks places to expand its impact beyond the traditional school breakfast and lunch programs nationwide. The USDA started childrens feeding programs at hospitals in Arkansas and Oklahoma in an effort to reach more children. Although it feeds 3.8 million children during the summer, the number is significantly fewer than the 21.7 million it feeds through school food programs during the school year. Mobile meal programs, public housing projects and primary care health clinics like First Choice are among the strategies the USDA is pursuing.

“Hunger is a health issue in many ways,” said Dr. Will Kaufman. “Families report skipping meals and buying cheaper food to stretch their budgets, which can mean food that is high in fat, sugar and calories, and low in nutritional value.

The saying "We are what we eat" is true - and that is why First Choice is making nutritious food available to children at the South Valley Health Commons - malnutrition is linked to poor health, delayed development, poor quality of life.

Children living in food insecure households are at higher risk of developing chronic conditions, particularly those children who experience multiple episodes of hunger - which is why First Choice is doing its part to provide healthy meals through a new USDA program at the South Valley Health Commons.

The pre-packaged meals distributed at First Choice meet USDA nutrition standards and are prepared by a local catering company, which has created a balanced menu that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat milk.

The children’s feeding program is one of several strategies First Choice is using to address hunger and nutrition. Patients also participate in La Cosecha Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which sells low cost bags of fresh, local vegetables grown by South Valley farmers each week of the growing season, delivered to the South Valley Health Commons. The CSA food is subsidized by Presbyterian Healthcare Services. Clients also participate in the WIC program, which provides supplemental food for children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, including vouchers to spend on produce at Farmer’s Markets. In addition, First Choice is helping launch a mobile farmers market that will make stops throughout the South Valley and International District of Albuquerque. The mobile van is provided by Bernalillo County and will feature healthy cooking demonstrations, a mobile pantry stocked by the Store House and recipes. First Choice provides and hosts numerous healthy cooking and eating workshops in its demonstration kitchen at the South Valley Health Commons.

First Choice is a federally-qualified health center system and is one of the largest providers of primary care in Central New Mexico, providing primary medical, dental, behavioral health care and WIC to 58,000 New Mexicans each year, regardless of income or insurance status. Learn more at fcch.com.