ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This summer, New Mexico children can continue to eat the same free, healthy meals and snacks at four Presbyterian hospitals across the state that they have during the school year.
The meal program is a partnership between Presbyterian Healthcare Services, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Region and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. It began in February 2016 when Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque and Socorro General Hospital became the first hospitals in New Mexico to offer free meals for children. The program expanded to Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital in Albuquerque this fall.
"At Presbyterian, our purpose is to improve the health of the communities we serve," said Leigh Caswell, director, Presbyterian Center for Community Health. "We know that children are healthier when they have nutritious food to eat – we are thrilled to provide this program year-round."
The USDA operates the federally-funded, state-administered Child and Adult Care Food Program during the school year and the Summer Food Service Program in the summer to serve healthy meals to kids and teens in low-income areas at no charge. As part of the program, hospitals provide select healthy options and receive reimbursement from the USDA. Food must be eaten at the hospitals.
As of April 31, the program had provided more than 7,500 meals at all four Presbyterian hospitals, including nearly 3,300 meals at Plains Regional Medical Center.
In New Mexico, one in six residents struggle with hunger and the state is tied with Mississippi for the highest childhood hunger rate in the nation, according to Feeding America. Presbyterian focuses on improving access to healthy food through support of cooking classes, farmer's market incentive programs, a mobile farmer's market, community gardens, and more. Please see
www.phs.org for more information.
Plains Regional Medical Center free meal hours:
- Daily: meal 1 p.m.- 7 p.m., snack: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Hours are the same year-round.
About Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian is a locally owned, not-for-profit healthcare system of eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a growing multi-specialty medical group. Founded in New Mexico in 1908, it is the state's largest private employer with more than 11,000 employees.