In Brief — Oct. 3, 2007 {0747}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — Oct. 3, 2007

Oct. 3, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0747}

Program estimates providing 3 million meals to children next year
An e-Review News Item
By Kitty Carpenter**

TAMPA — Cornerstone Family Ministries’ unit of the Child Care Food Program (CCFP) estimates it will assist area day-care centers in serving more than 3 million meals to children in Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties in the coming year.

CCFP is a federal program established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Florida Department of Health/Bureau of Child Nutrition. It helps day care centers provide nutritious meals to children from birth to 12 years old.

Children enjoy lunch at Cornerstone Family Ministries’ Rosa Valdez Early Intervention Center. Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Family Ministries. Photo #07-0682.

Cornerstone Family Ministries (formerly Tampa United Methodist Centers) is a nonprofit, faith-based organization that has worked with children and families since 1892. It is the oldest church and community outreach ministry of the Florida Conference.

Currently, 89 centers participate in the food program through Cornerstone’s CCFP unit, providing meals to between 5,500 and 6,000 children each month. Those numbers have grown from 74 centers and approximately 5,000 children since last October, according to Angie Dyson, Cornerstone’s CCFP program manager. Approximately 70 percent of the children served are from low-income families.

From February through July of this year, Dyson says the centers served 363,991 breakfasts, 454,182 lunches and 538,724 afternoon snacks. If reports show similar numbers for the six months after that period, Dyson and other program organizers estimate the total number of meals served during that 12-month period will be more than 2.7 million. 

Because of the program’s growth, the USDA and Florida Department of Health have approved a budget of more than $3.7 million for the next year of the program — Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2008 — which will provide an estimated 265,065 meals each month or nearly 3.2 million meals throughout the year.

The goal is to have 105 centers enrolled by the end of the year, according to Dyson, so there will be an average of 100 centers each month feeding children in a healthy way.

Of the total budget, 90 percent is paid to the child-care centers for the cost of their individual food programs. The budget also represents an increase of more than $1 million over the 2006-2007 budget, making CCFP the largest budgeted program at Cornerstone Family Ministries. Cornerstone’s overall budget is $8.6 million.

As the only sponsor of unaffiliated day care centers in the four Central Florida counties, Cornerstone’s Children’s Services Department provides the day-care centers with technical assistance and training on nutrition, food service operations, program management and record keeping. It then reviews and monitors each center’s program to assure compliance and proper eligibility. Cornerstone’s CCFP department then collects and reviews monthly records, files the claims, and distributes meal reimbursement funds from the Department of Health/Bureau of Child Nutrition.

In March Cornerstone Family Ministries helped establish the Florida Sponsors Association (TFSA), a statewide professional association of nonprofit sponsors. Dyson, who was elected president, says the association is designed to serve as a support system and provide collective bargaining and training resource opportunities.

Cornerstone Family Ministries’ programs serve more than 15,000 families across the state each month through the Rosa Valdez and Cuscaden Early Intervention Centers, SHARE Florida Food Network, Acorn Trace Senior Housing—HUD (202/8), CCFP, Cornerstone Family Enrichment Center, The New Place Arts Center and Housing Management Services.

More information about Cornerstone Family Ministries is available at or by calling 813-248-6259.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Carpenter is director of development for Cornerstone Family Ministries.

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